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M.A.  Oxon.,  F.R.G.S.,  F.S.A. 

Vicar   of   Totland  Bay,  I.W. 
Formerly  of  the  Church  Missionary  Society,  Uganda  and  Palestine 




Printed  in  Great  Britain 


During  the  last  forty  or  fifty  years  a  Hood  of  light 
has  been  thrown  on  the  ancient  history  of  Egypt, 
Babylonia,  Syria,  and  the  other  lands  so  intimately 
associated  with  Palestine,  as  well  as  on  that  of  the 
Holy  Land  itself,  thereby  illustrating  and  con- 
firming the  Scripture  narrative.  Towns  and  cities 
buried  for  thousands  of  years  have  been  compelled 
to  yield  up  their  secrets  to  the  spade  of  the  explorer ; 
the  story  of  forgotten  tribes  and  nations  has  been 
discovered :  ancient  languages  have  been  re-learnt, 
and  their  records  and  literature,  personal  corre- 
spondence and  private  accounts,  have  been  made 
accessible  to  the  ordinary  reader. 

In  another  field  of  research,  that  of  the  manners 
and  customs,  language  and  folk-lore,  of  these 
Eastern  lands,  much  has  also  been  accomplished, 
but  in  both  much  yet  remains  to  be  done.     The 




present  work    is  a   small    contribution    towards   a 
fuller  knowledge  of  the  latter  field. 

The  circumstance  of  a  long  sojourn  in  the  Holy 
Land  has  given  the  author  a  somewhat  intimate 
acquaintance  with  its  inhabitants.  The  knowledge 
thus  acquired  he  feels  he  ought  not  to  keep  to 
himself,  especially  as,  unlike  most  of  the  records 
revealed  by  pick  and  spade,  no  inconsiderable 
portion  is  in  danger  of  being  lost  through  the 
changes  which  time  is  bringing  on  the  land. 

C.  T.  W. 

Totland  Bay,  I.W., 

January  23,  1906. 

CON  T E  N  T S 

pai  ;  ^. 

INTRODUCTION  ------  1 


RELIGION       -  -  -  -  -  -  -         10 


religion  (continued)  -  -  -  ■  -       35 


VILLAGE    LIFE  -  -  -  -  -  -         57 


DOMESTIC    LIFE  -  -  -  -  -  -         89 


domestic  LIFE  (continued)  -  -  -     107 

domestic  life  (continued)  -  -  -  -     117 


domestic  life  (continued)  -  -  -  -     132 




DOMESTIC   LIFE  {continued)  -  -  -  -  -     147 


SHEPHERDS,  HERDSMEN,  ETC.      -       -       -       -   161 


AGRICULTURE  -  -  -  -  -  -      188 

agriculture  (continued)     -----     205 

agriculture  (continued)     -  226 

minor  industries  ------    242 

miscellaneous       ------    262 


miscellaneous  (continued)-  -  283 


PROVERBS      --.-...      302 


nazareth             .....  Frontispiece 
es  salt  ------    To  face  page     6 

CARMEL   (SCENE    OF   ELIJAH'S   SACRIFICE)                -  „               22 

A   FELLAH                -----  „               26 

PLACE)             .....  })               26 

AGRICULTURAL   IMPLEMENTS   ROUND   A   WELY       -  „               27 

COURTYARD   OF   VILLAGE   MOSQUE               -                -  „               27 

A  VILLAGE   EAST   OF   THE   JORDAN               -  „               28 

KANATlR-                -----  „               28 

SACRED   TREE        -                -                -                                 -  „               34 

GREEK  CONVENT  OF  MAR   GIR1US   IN   WADY    KELT  „               40 

AN   ALlYEH              -----  „               61 

SHEPHERD   AND   SHEEP     -                -                -                -  ,,               70 

ROMAN   BRIDGE   OVER   THE   JORDAN           -                -  „               70 

PARAPET   OF    "TILING"    -                -                -                -  „               72 

A   SHOP   IN    MOAB                 ...  ,,72 

CHRISTIAN   VILLAGE   SCHOOL          -                -                -  „               98 

WOMEN   SIFTING   CORN      -                -                -                -  ,,118 

WOMEN   GRINDING               -                -                -                -  ,,118 

FLOCK   RESTING    AT   NOON                -                -  ,,             128 

WOMEN    GOING   TO   DRAW  WATER                 -  ,,128 

TIBERIAS-                --"--,,  152 

SHEPHERD   AND   SHEEP     -                -                -                -  ,,162 

PEASANT   WOMAN,    SHOWING   HEAD-DRESS               -  „             162 

OAK   GROVE,    JEBEL   AJLON              -                -  „            174 

PREPARING   FIREWOOD   FOR   MARKET          -  ,,184 



CAMELS  CARRYING  stone  -  -  -  To  face  page  184 


A    FELLAH  - 

A   SOWER  - 


BETHANY  ..... 

SAKlYEH  ------ 




AN    "  UPPER    ROOM,"    OLIVES    DRYING    ON    ROOF 

THEBEZ)  ----- 



A   WATER-MILL,   JEBEL   AJL<>N       - 

KISSING   THE   HAND  ...  - 





IN  THE  HILL  COUNTRY    -  -  -  - 

"  RUJM 






An  apology  is  needed  for  adding  another  to  the 
long  list  of  books  on  the  Holy  Land.     My  excuse 
is  that  the  volume  deals  with  the  people  rather 
than  with   the  land,  and   that,  too,  from   ivithin. 
Many  years'  residence  and  work  in  Palestine  have 
given  me  exceptional  opportunities  of  seeing  the 
inner  life  of  the  present  inhabitants  of  the  Holy 
Land,    more   especially   that   of  the    Fellahin,    of 
whom  this  work  treats.     I  have  been  brought  into 
closest  contact  with  many  of  them,  both  Christian 
and  Moslem,  staying  in  their  houses,  joining  them 
at  their  meals,  travelling  long  journeys  with  them, 
seeking  to  enter  into,  and  sympathize  with,  their 
joys  and  sorrows  in  all  the  vicissitudes  of  human 
life,   and   often,  for  days  at  a  time,  hearing  and 
speaking  nothing  but  their  language.     I  have  in 
many  cases  gained  their  confidence,  I  believe,  and 
at  the  same  time,  while  not  forgetful  of  their  short- 
comings,  I  have  learnt   to  appreciate  their  good 
qualities  and  to  esteem  some  of  them  very  highly. 
It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  nearly  all  the  works 


dealing  with  the  Holy  Land  and  the  manners  and 
customs  of  its  people  have  been  written,  not  by 
residents,  but  by  travellers.  There  are  undoubted 
advantages  in  this  fact,  but  there  are  also  grave 

To  the  new-comer  from  the  West,  who  obtains 
his  first  glimpse  of  Eastern  life  as  he  sets  foot  on 
the  shores  of  Palestine,  all  he  sees  and  hears  comes 
with  startling  novelty.  Every  turn  of  the  road  or 
street,  each  group  by  the  wayside,  the  long  lines  of 
camels  winding  down  the  valleys,  the  picturesque 
crowds  of  an  Eastern  market,  the  varied  incidents 
of  peasant  life,  all  present  brilliant  pictures  to  eye 
and  mind  with  a  vividness  and  freshness  which  are 
apt  to  be  much  dimmed  by  long  residence  among 
these  scenes  and  intimate  familiarity  with  them. 

But  if  we  seek  to  get  below  the  surface  and  to 
go  more  thoroughly  into  the  habits  and  customs  of 
the  people,  and  to  understand  their  thoughts  and 
characters,  much  more  is  needed  than  even  the 
most  protracted  journey  through  the  country  can 

Everything  connected  with  that  land  which  was 
the  cradle  of  our  holy  religion  or  which  throws 
light  on  the  manners  and  customs  which  obtained 
there  in  olden  days  is  of  value. 

To  the  Fellahin  (or  peasants)  of  Palestine  it  is 
to  whom  we  must  chiefly  go  to-day  to  elucidate 
those  manners  and  customs,  and  not  to  the  Jews. 
The  latter  are,  for  the  most  part,  strangers  in  their 
own  land,  immigrants  from  Europe  or  other  conti- 
nents, who  bring  with  them  the  tongue,  garb,  and 


ideas  of  the  countries  where  they  have  been  so  long 

The  Fellahin,  on  the  contrary,  are  probably 
to  a  large  extent  the  descendants  of  the  various 
Gentile  tribes,  who  were  never  exterminated  by 
the  Israelites,  but  became  a  race  of  serfs,  herding 
the  cattle  and  tilling  the  land  of  their  Hebrew 

Professor  Sayce  has  shown  that  where  a  people 
has  been  wholly  or  chiefly  commercial,  they  have 
been  for  the  most  part  absorbed  into,  or  dis- 
possessed by,  a  conquering  race,  but  that  where 
they  have  been  agricultural  or  pastoral  the  wave 
of  conquest  has  passed  over  them,  leaving  them 
comparatively  unchanged. 

This  has  been  the  case  in  Palestine.  Hebrew 
and  Egyptian,  Chaldean  and  Greek,  Roman  and 
Arab,  have  conquered  the  land ;  but  the  peasant 
descendants  of  the  pagan  tribes  which  dwelt  there 
at  the  dawn  of  history  have  clung  to  the  soil 
through  all  these  changes.  Bending  to  the  storm, 
they  were  lost  sight  of  for  awhile,  but  reappeared 
as  the  country  settled  down  after  each  invasion. 
Colonel  Conder,  writing  ('  Palestine,'  p.  63)  on 
this  subject,  says :  '  The  Fellahin  have  been  called 
"  modern  Canaanites,"  and  if  by  this  is  meant  de- 
scendants of  the  Semitic  race  which  the  Egyptians 
found  in  Palestine  before  the  time  of  the  Hebrew 
conquest,  the  term  seems  justified  by  what  is 

The  language  spoken  by  the  Fellahin  to-day  is 
a  Semitic  tongue,  viz.,  Arabic,  closely  related,  not 



only  to  Hebrew,  Syriac,  and  Chaldee,  but  also  to 
Assyrian,  whicli  latter  the  discoveries  at  Tel 
Amarna  show  to  have  been  the  literary  tongue  of 
the  days  of  A  braham  and  the  early  patriarchs. 

Such  being  the  case,  it  will  be  readily  seen  that 
a  knowledge  of  the  manners,  customs,  and  dialects 
of  the  Fellahin  of  Palestine  is  likely  to  throw  much 
light  on  those  of  the  inhabitants  of  that  land  in 
Bible  times,  as  well  as  on  the  scenes  depicted  and 
the  histories  narrated  in  the  Sacred  Volume. 

It  is  of  great  importance,  too,  that  the  manners 
and  customs  now  obtaining  should  be  carefully 
studied  and  noted,  as  there  is  much  danger  that 
many  of  these  will  in  a  short  time  be  lost. 

We  are  accustomed  to  speak  of  the  East  as 
'  unchanging ';  and  when  compared  with  Europe 
and  America  it  is  no  doubt  correct.  Still,  even  so, 
this  epithet  is  only  relatively,  and  not  absolutely 
true.  In  bygone  times  various  things  have  been 
introduced  from  Europe  and  other  lands,  and 
become  naturalized,  and  the  same  process  is  going 
on  now.  New  ideas  are  in  some  cases  readily 
adopted.  Thus,  when  the  railway  between  Jaffa 
and  Jerusalem  was  built,  it  was  a  surprise  to  many 
that  the  people  so  quickly  adopted  it  as  a  means 
of  travel.  The  same  remark  applies  with  equal 
force  to  the  postal  system,  telegraph,  machinery, 
as  well  as  to  smaller  articles  of  Western  origin  and 

Again,  as  a  result  of  the  modern  civil  code 
introduced  into  Turkey,  chiefly  through  the  in- 
fluence of  the  late  Midhat  Pasha,  agricultural  land 


has  largely  passed  from  the  communal  ownership 
of  villages  into  that  of  individuals. 

Material  for  clothing  is  being  more  and  more 
imported  from  Europe,  with  the  result  that  the 
native  weavers  cannot  compete.  As  a  consequence, 
the  native  industry  is  dying  out.  Thus,  in  a  village 
I  know,  where  a  few  years  ago  forty  looms  were  in 
full  work,  only  six  are  now  to  be  found. 

The  ever-growing  poverty  of  the  people,  due 
for  the  most  part  to  the  increasing  burden  of 
direct  taxation,  is  making  it  less  and  less  possible 
for  them  to  live  from  the  land.  This  tends  to 
drive  many,  especially  of  the  poorer  or  less  thrifty 
of  the  peasants,  to  the  towns  to  seek  for  work.  It 
has  led  also  to  a  great  increase  of  late  years  in  the 
amount  of  emigration,  particularly  from  certain 

A  great  deal  of  variety  still  exists  in  the  local 
dialects.  This  is  due,  doubtless,  to  the  isolation 
of  the  different  districts  in  times  past ;  this,  again, 
being  the  result  of  the  difficulties  and  dangers  of 
travelling.  Fifty  years  ago  a  journey  from  Jeru- 
salem to  Es  Salt  (the  ancient  Ramoth  Gilead), 
east  of  the  Jordan,  would  have  been  considered  a 
more  serious  undertaking  than  a  voyage  to  America 
would  be  nowadays.  The  inevitable  result  was 
that  there  was  hardly  any  intercourse  between 
different  districts,  with  the  natural  consequence  of 
considerable  variation  in  the  words  and  phrases  in 
common  use  in  the  several  places. 

An  incident  related  to  me  when  I  had  but 
recently  come  to  Jerusalem  (by  way  of  encouraging 


me  in  my  study  of  the  language !)  will  illustrate 
this.  A  man  from  Es  Salt  and  another  from  Gaza 
had  been  spending  the  evening  together  at  the 
house  of  a  mutual  friend.  The  man  from  Es  Salt 
told  a  story  which  the  other  could  not  understand, 
until  the  host,  who  was  acquainted  with  both  parts 
of  the  country,  explained  it  to  him  in  his  local 
phraseology  ! 

This  was  probably  an  exaggeration.  Still,  the 
fact  remains  that  the  words  in  ordinary  use  in 
various  parts  of  the  country  differ  very  consider- 
ably, though  the  greater  facilities  for  travel  of  late 
years  will  tend  to  approximate  the  different  dialects 
to  each  other  more  and  more.  Education,  too, 
which,  as  will  be  seen  further  on,  is  making  rapid 
advances,  is  having  the  same  effect. 

Local  distinctions,  words,  customs,  etc.,  are 
often  strongly  marked.  It  is  not  easy  to  say  how 
they  have  arisen,  but  one  possible  explanation  is, 
that  the  inhabitants  of  the  various  groups  of  villages 
where  such  customs,  etc.,  obtain  are  descendants 
from  different  ancient  tribes. 

The  variations  in  feature  which  can  be  noticed 
in  different  districts,  and  which  are  often  sufficiently 
marked  to  enable  a  person  conversant  with  the 
country  to  tell  fairly  accurately  from  whence  a 
stranger  hails,  would  seem  to  point  in  the  same 

The  small  area  in  which  peculiar  customs  occur, 
and  the  comparative  isolation  of  these  areas  which 
still  prevails,  make  it  often  extremely  difficult  to 
ascertain  local  customs  and  usages.     Many  of  these 


can  only  be  discovered  accidentally  or  by  long 
residence  in  the  particular  locality.  The  people  of 
neighbouring  villages  may  be  quite  unaware  of  the 
existence  of  a  certain  custom,  while  only  a  few 
miles  away  it  may  be  very  familiar. 

I  have  known  intelligent,  educated  natives  to  be 
entirely  ignorant  of  certain  customs,  and  even  to 
deny  their  existence,  because  they  were  not  in 
vogue  in  their  own  particular  district,  whereas 
further  inquiry  or  fuller  acquaintance  with  other 
parts  revealed  the  fact  that  they  were  perfectly 
familiar  to  others. 

That  being  so,  the  fact  that  such-and-such  a 
custom,  or  rule,  or  community,  is  unknown  in  the 
country  generally  is  no  proof  whatever  that  it 
does  not  exist  at  all,  as  it  may  be  confined  to  a 
small  out-of-the-way  group  of  villages,  or  to  only 
one  or  two  places.  For  instance,  probably  not  one 
European  resident  in  Palestine  out  of  a  hundred  has 
ever  even  heard  of  the  Baraghafeh  (Chapter  III.). 
It  was  many  years  before  I  knew  of  their  existence, 
spite  of  the  fact  that  they  were  in  the  district  in 
which  I  was  living  and  working. 

Another  difficulty  in  ascertaining  accurately  such 
manners  and  customs  as  are  at  all  peculiar  to  the 
Fellahm  is  that  they  are  very  sensitive  about  them, 
and  are  sometimes  very  uncommunicative  on  the 
subject.  To  a  stranger,  moreover,  they  are  apt  to 
repudiate  customs  of  which  they  are  at  all  ashamed, 
or  which  they  consider  to  reflect  on  themselves  in 
any  way.  Nor  must  the  inquirer  ever  ask  a  leading 
question,   or  one  which  would  at  all  show  what 


reply  he  expects.  The  Oriental  always  likes  to 
give  a  'pleasant  answer,'  i.e.,  one  which  will 
coincide  with  the  preconceived  ideas  of  his  in- 
terrogator. It  is  also  useless  to  apply  to  the 
townsman  for  information  about  the  Fellahin,  as 
he  really  knows  very  little  of  their  manners  and 
customs.  There  is  no  distinction  of  classes,  as  in 
England,  but  there  is  a  very  real  one  between  the 
Medaniin,  or  townsmen,  and  the  Fellahin.  or 

Palestine  is  a  land  where  the  old  order  of  things 
and  the  new  meet  together.  The  modern  steam- 
ship frequents  its  harbours  and  roadsteads,  the 
whistle  of  the  locomotive  wakes  the  echoes  of 
some  of  its  valleys,  and  the  telegraph-wires  stretch 
from  town  to  town  and  bring  the  latest  news  of 
Europe  and  America  to  its  cities  hour  by  hour. 
Yet  in  its  distant  hamlets,  secluded  gorges,  and 
barren  wilderness,  life  is  much  what  it  was  when 
Jacob  fed  his  flocks  on  these  same  hills,  or  Ruth 
gleaned  in  the  fields  of  Bethlehem. 

A  few  years  ago  I  went  one  morning  to  the 
railway- station  at  Jerusalem  to  bid  farewell  to 
some  English  friends.  Three  hours  later  I  had 
stepped  back  fifty  centuries,  and  was  sitting  in  a 
Bedouy  tent  in  the  wilderness  of  Judea,  welcomed 
by  a  sheikh  clad,  probably,  much  as  Abraham  was 
in  those  far-off  days,  surrounded  by  the  sons  of 
Ishmael,  differing  little  in  their  appearance  from 
their  wild  nomad  ancestor,  and  conversing  with 
them  in  a  tongue  which,  though  not  identical  with, 
is  yet  closely  related  to,  that  which  the  Father  of 


the  Faithful  spoke,  and  in  which  he  communed 
with  God  on  these  same  hills. 

Whether  or  not  the  changes  now  taking  place  in 
Palestine  are  destined  to  be  permanent  time  alone 
will  show. 

The  following  pages  are  an  attempt  to  record 
some  of  the  customs  and  manners  of  the  Fellahin 
as  they  obtain  in  the  Holy  Land  at  the  present 
day,  in  the  hope  that  they  may  thus  be  rescued 
from  oblivion,  and  thereby  fuller  light  be  thrown 
on  the  Word  of  God,  and  also  that  Western 
Christians  may  be  led  to  take  a  deeper  and  more 
sympathetic  interest  in  the  present  inhabitants  of 
that  land  where  was  lived 

'  that  sinless  Life, 
That  breathed  beneath  the  Syrian  blue.1 



The  Syrian  peasantry  are  a  particularly  religious 
race.  Religious  topics  form  a  frequent  subject  of 
conversation,  and  they  will  discuss  abstruse  theo- 
logical questions,  such  as  predestination,  by  the 
hour.  But  as  one  gets  to  know  them  better  this 
religiousness,  which  at  first  greatly  surprises  a 
Western,  proves  in  most  cases  to  be  very  super- 
ficial. Such  as  it  is,  however,  it  enters  largely  into 
their  everyday  life  and  language. 

Everything  that  happens  to  them,  good  or  ill, 
is  directly  from  God's  hand.  After  telling  one  of 
some  misfortune  which  has  befallen  them,  they 
will  conclude  with  the  words  '  EL  hamdu  I  Hah, 
el  hamdu  Tllah'  (Praise  be  to  God,  praise  be  to 
God).  In  all  their  troubles  or  misfortunes  there 
is  little  or  no  looking  at  second  causes.  Even  in 
cases  where  the  trouble  or  misfortune  is  manifestly 
the  result  of  their  or  someone  else's  carelessness, 
or  where  an  illness  has  been  brought  on  by  their 
own  sin  or  foolishness,  it  is  invariably  attributed  to 
the  will  of  God. 

The    name    of    the    Almighty    is    continually 


brought  into  their  conversation.  If  on  meeting  a 
man  one  inquires  after  his  health,  the  answer  will 
almost  always  be,  '  El  hamdu  Fllah,'  or, '  Ashkur  er 
Rub '  (Praise  God,  or,  I  thank  the  Lord).  Or  if 
one  asks  another,  '  Do  you  think  it  will  rain 
to-day  V  '  In  shallah  '  (If  God  wills),  he  will  reply, 
or,  •  Allah  yalam  '  (God  knows) ;  or  should  the  rain 
be  much  needed,  a  frequent  answer  will  be,  '  Allan 
karim '  (God  is  generous).  The  beggar  as  he  holds 
out  his  hand  for  alms  whines,  '  Allah  yuatik'  (May 
God  give  you) — i.e.,  in  return  for  what  you  are 
about  to  give  me — or,  '  Hassaneh  Tllali '  (An  alms 
for  God)  ;  and  on  receiving  anything  expresses  his 
thanks  by  •  Keththir  kheirak'  (May  He— God- 
increase  or  multiply  your  goods),  or  by  '  Yutoivwil 
unirak'  (May  He  prolong  your  life),  and  similar 
phrases.  Two  friends  have  met  on  the  road.  On 
parting  one  will  say,  'Allah  ymahhil  'alek'  (May 
God  make  your  road  smooth  for  you),  and  the 
other  will  respond  with  the  words,  *  W  Allah 
yahfthak '  (And  may  God  preserve  you) ;  and  so 
on  through  every  matter  of  daily  life.  / 

It  will  readily  be  seen  that  this  frequent  use  of 
the  Divine  name  too  often  degenerates  into  a  mere 
form.  Once  when  on  a  long  journey  a  horse  in  my 
caravan  cast  a  shoe,  and  on  arriving  at  the  next 
halting-place  a  farrier  was  sent  for  to  replace  it. 
He  was  a  Moslem,  and  at  every  nail  he  drove  into 
the  hoof  he  uttered  the  formula,  '  Attakil  'aP  Allah  ' 
(I  trust  in  God),  and  could  not  see,  when  remon- 
strated with,  that  there  was  any  irreverence  in  the 
constant  repetition  of  these  words.     Whatever  the 


original  idea  underlying  the  use  of  such  expres- 
sions, the  practical  result  is  too  often  the  greatest 
profanity.  Thus,  one  of  the  very  commonest  forms 
of  the  simple  expression  ■  Yes '  is  really  an  oath 
by  the  name  of  God,  and  the  way  in  which  the 
Mohammedans  will  use  that  holy  name  when 
trying  to  make  a  person  believe  a  palpable  lie 
makes  one  shudder. 

The  great  majority  of  the  Fellahin  are  by 
religion  Moslems,  or,  as  they  are  more  commonly 
called  in  Europe,  Mohammedans.  The  Moslem 
(more  accurately,  Muslim)  is  one  who  is  surrendered 
to  God,  and  his  religion  he  calls  *  Islam,'  or  '  Sur- 
render.'* The  Koran  (literally,  ■  Reading ')  is  his 
sacred  book,  and  the  chief,  though  not  the  only, 
source  of  his  religion.  This  book  is  largely  derived 
from  the  Old  and  New  Testaments,  which  in 
theory  all  Moslems  acknowledge.  They  also  admit 
our  Blessed  Lord  to  be  a  Prophet,  in  some  respects 
putting  Him  above  Mohammed ;  and  have  the 
greatest  respect  for  Abraham,  Moses,  David, 
Solomon,  and  many  of  the  Old  Testament  saints ; 
but  they  deny  Christ's  Divinity  and  reject  His 

*  It  is  not  possible  to  give  within  the  limits  of  a  work  of 
this  kind  anything  like  a  succinct  account  of  Mohammedanism, 
nor,  indeed,  does  it  lie  within  its  scope  to  do  so.  The  student 
who  may  wish  to  pursue  the  subject  further  will  find  full 
information  in  such  books  as  the  following  :  '  Mahomet  and 
Islam,'  Sir  W.  Muir  (R.T.S.) ;  'Koran;  Sir  W.  Muir 
(S.P.C.K.);  'The  Dictionary  of  Islam/  T.  P.  Hughes; 
'  Religion  of  the  Crescent,1  St.  Clare  Tisdall ;  '  Cradle  of 
Islam,'  Zwiemer. 


There  are,  as  every  student  of  Islam  knows, 
numerous  sects  in  that  religion,*  many  of  these 
being  bitterly  hostile  to  each  other.  In  Palestine 
the  Moslems  are  chiefly  Sunnis,  or  orthodox 
Mohammedans,  and  belong  for  the  most  part,  I 
believe,  to  the  Hanifites,  followers  of  Abu  Hani- 
fah,  one  of  their  four  recognised  divisions.  In  the 
northern  districts,  however,  there  are  a  good  many 
Met'awali,f  and  here  and  there  communities  of  a 
remarkable  sect  known  as  the  Shazeliyeh  or  Shada- 
liyeh.  The  Mohammedan  peasantry  have  but  a 
superficial  acquaintance,  for  the  most  part,  with 
their  own  religion. 

Their  idea  of  God  is  a  terribly  low  one,  so  much 
so  that  I  doubt  if  it  comes  up  to  that  of  many 
heathen.  Many  a  time  as  I  talked  with  them  have 
the  words  of  the  Prayer-Book  version  of  Ps.  1.  21 
come  to  my  mind :  '  Thou  thoughtest  wickedly 
that  I  am  even  such  a  one  as  thyself.'  Their  idea 
of  Him  is  too  often  that  of  a  weakly  indulgent 
Being  who  is  to  be  cheated  or  coaxed  into  letting 

*  A  recent  Persian  writer  (a  Mohammedan)  states  that 
there  are  seventy  principal  Moslem  sects,  each  of  which  has 
several  subdivisions. 

f  The  Mefawali  are  followers  of  \,  the  son-in-law  of 
Mohammed.  While  accepting  the  Koran  as  Divine,  they  do 
not  acknowledge  Mohammed  as  the  Prophet  or  Apostle  of 
God,  but  accord  that  honour  to  "AH,  who  was  the  fourth 
Khalifa  or  Imam.  They  hold  that  God  intended  to  give 
His  revelation  to  him,  but  that  the  angel  Gabriel,  who  was 
entrusted  with  the  mission,  by  mistake  gave  the  Koran  to 
Mohammed  instead  of  to  "AH. 


them  into  heaven  on  the  Day  of  Judgment.  '  Oh, 
I  know  about  Saidna  Isa '  (the  Moslem  name  for 
our  Blessed  Lord),  said  a  peasant  woman  to  a 
lady  who  was  speaking  about  Him  to  a  group  of 
Mohammedan  women  ;  '  He  will  tell  lies  for  us  on 
the  Day  of  Judgment.' 

It  is  a  remarkable  fact  that  among  Moslems 
there  is  no  clerical  order  and  no  priesthood  of  any 
kind  whatever.  In  most  villages  there  is,  however, 
a  man  called  a  Khatib,  or  '  Exhorter,'  as  the  word 
might  be  rendered.  His  duties  are  to  act  as 
Imam — i.e.,  to  lead  the  prayers  in  the  mosque  on 
Friday  (the  day  on  which  public  worship  is  cele- 
brated) and  on  other  special  occasions ;  to  wash 
and  prepare  for  the  grave  the  bodies  of  all  men 
and  boys  ;  while,  at  weddings,  before  him  takes 
place  the  formal  agreement  between  the  bride- 
groom and  the  father  of  the  bride,  which  consti- 
tutes the  actual  marriage  ceremony.  In  the  villages 
of  Palestine  the  Khatib  is  often  the  schoolmaster, 
and  also  acts  as  spy  for  the  Government.  As  a 
class  these  men  are  ignorant  and  bigoted,  but  I 
have  known  many  good  and  honourable  excep- 

Till  recently  every  Khatib  received  half  a  bushel 
of  wheat  yearly  at  harvest-time  from  each  family 
in  the  village,  but  if  unpopular  he  could  not  always 
obtain  his  due.  A  story  is  told  of  how  the  peasants 
of  a  certain  village,  who  would  not  give  their  Khatib 
his  allowance  of  corn,  were  outwitted  by  him.  He 
went  round  the  threshing-floors  from  one  man  to 
another,  but  each  put  him  off  with  some  excuse, 


and  he  returned  empty-handed.  The  next  Friday, 
when  the  hour  arrived  at  which  lie  should  have 
been  at  his  place  in  the  mosque  as  Imam,  he  was 
not  there.  The  people  waited,  but  he  did  not  come. 
Some  of  the  leading  men  went  to  his  house  to 
inquire  the  cause  of  his  absence. 

'  I  am  not  going  to  prayer,'  was  his  reply.  '  You 
do  not  say  your  prayers  properly.  You  talk,  and 
some  rise  up  before  I  do.' 

'  Oh  no  !  we  will  go  through  all  the  forms  in  due 
order,  if  only  you  will  come.' 

'  I  will  consent  to  come  and  act  as  Imam  if  you 
will  put  a  solemn  curse  on  everyone  who  does  not 
say  his  prayers  properly  or  who  rises  from  the 
prostrations  before  I  do.' 

To  this  the  elders  agreed,  and  the  Khatib  accom- 
panied them  to  the  mosque,  where  an  announce- 
ment to  this  effect  was  made.  The  prescribed 
forms  were  then  duly  gone  through  to  the  closing 
prostrations.  The  Imam  bowed  himself  to  the 
earth,  and  all  the  people  followed  his  example. 
But  when  the  words  had  been  repeated  he  remained 
with  his  face  to  the  ground.  All  waited  in  silence, 
but  the  Khatib  did  not  move.  No  one  dared  to 
rise,  from  fear  of  the  curse.  At  last  the  people 
began  to  complain,  and  angry  voices  rose  from  the 
prostrate  crowd.     Then  the  Khatib  spoke  : 

'  You  would  not  give  me  my  corn  when  I  asked 
it  yesterday,  and  I  shall  not  rise  till  every  man  of 
you  has  paid  me  his  dues  in  full.' 

On  hearing  this  a  babel  of  shouts  arose  from  the 
mosque,  the  men  calling  to  their  wives  and  children 


to  bring  the  corn.  The  crafty  Imam  bade  one  of 
his  sons  see  that  each  man's  quota  of  com  was 
forthcoming  in  full  measure.  Not  till  this  was 
done,  and  the  floor  of  the  mosque  heaped  high 
with  wheat,  were  the  unfortunate  men  allowed  to 

Besides  the  Khatib,  there  will  sometimes  be  an 
'A  Urn,  or  '  learned '  man,  in  the  village.  These 
TJlcma  are  so  called  from  the  fact  of  their  having 
studied  in  the  great  Mohammedan  University  of 
El  Azhar,  in  Cairo,  and  are  much  looked  up  to  by 
the  people. 

In  addition  to  the  Khutabeh  and  Ulema  just 
mentioned,  many  Dervishes  (or  Derwishes)  are 
found.  They  may  be  compared  with  the  begging 
friars  of  the  Middle  Ages,  except,  of  course,  that 
the  Dervishes  are  not  celibates.  They  are  generally 
distinguished  by  their  long,  loose  robes  and  tall 
hats  of  various  shapes  and  colours,  as  black,  green, 
or  drab,  with  or  without  turbans.  They  call  them- 
selves '  Dervishes  '  or  '  Poor  Dervishes,'  or  simply 
1  Poor '  (Fakir),  synonymous  terms,  for  Dervish  is 
a  Persian  word  derived  from  the  term  JDcr,  which 
in  that  language  means  a  gate  or  door,  and  implies 
one  who  wanders  from  door  to  door  begging. 
This  designation  is  used  by  the  Dervishes  them- 
selves to  show  their  dependence  on  the  goodness 
of  God  and  that  they  seek  His  bounty  only.  It  is 
in  this  sense  that  the  term  '  Poor '  (Fakir)  must 
be  understood,  and  not  as  indicating  their  actual 

They  are  divided  into  two  main  classes,  known 


as  '  Regular  '  and  '  Irregular ' — in  other  words, 
those  who  have  rules,  or  'paths,'  as  they  are 
termed,  and  those  who  have  none.  The  '  Regular 
Dervishes '  are  also  designated  *  Travellers ' — i.e., 
those  who  are  travelling  along  the  road  to  heaven, 
this  being  the  idea  in  which  originated  the  name 
of  paths,  by  which  their  rules,  rites,  and  ceremonies 
are  known.  The  '  Irregular  Dervishes  '  are  of  two 
classes,  one  known  as  Azadiyeh,  a  term  derived 
from  the  Persian  word  Azad  (Free),  while  the 
others  style  themselves  Mqjathib,  or  '  Tradi- 
tionaries,'  because  they  profess  to  have  received  the 
special  regulations  or  tenets  of  their  orders  by 
unbroken  tradition,  from  the  first  Khalifah,  or 
*  Successor '  of  Mohammed,  Abu  Bekr,  and  the 
Imam  'Ali,  Mohammed's  son-in-law. 

When  a  man  wishes  to  join  any  of  these  Orders, 
certain  ceremonies  take  place,  which  are,  usually, 
as  follows.  The  postulant  goes  to  the  head  of  the 
particular  Order  into  which  he  wishes  to  gain 
admittance,  and  says  :  '  Oh,  So-and-so  !  I  wish  to 
repent  to  God  by  your  hand,  and  to  enter  into 
covenant  with  you.'  The  terms  on  which  the  new 
member  is  to  be  admitted  are  then  discussed. 
When  these  are  satisfactorily  arranged,  the  novice 
is  solemnly  bathed  by  the  Superior.  This  ceremony 
over,  the  Superior  usually  spits  in  the  other's  mouth, 
it  being  supposed  that  he  thus  imparts  his  spirit 
to  him.  He  is  next  formally  invested  with  the 
Zi,  or  special  headdress  of  the  Order,  and  thence- 
forth is  reckoned  a  full  member  of  the  Dervish 




It  is  impossible  to  state  with  any  precision  the 
number,  varieties,  and  regulations  of  the  different 
Dervish  bodies,  partly  because  they  are  very 
numerous,  and  partly  because  some  at  least  are 
esoteric,  and  do  not  divulge  their  peculiar  tenets, 
rules,  and  rites,  to  any  but  those  within  the  circle 
of  the  Order. 

There  are  thirty-two  recognised  bodies  of  Regular 
and  Irregular  Dervishes,  called  for  the  most  part 
after  the  names  of  their  founders,  and  originating 
in  various  places  and  at  different  times,  from 
149  a.h.  to  1164  a.h. — i.e.,  from  about  the  end  of 
the  eighth  century  a.d.  to  about  the  middle  of  the 

All  these  men  are  regarded  by  the  Moslems 
with  the  greatest  veneration,  and  are  considered 
specially  holy,  even  though,  as  is  sometimes  the 
case,  their  characters  are  known  to  be  of  the  vilest. 
On  the  other  hand  they  are  popularly  considered 
to  be  extremely  avaricious.  One  of  the  peasant 
proverbs  runs :  *  Quicker  than  the  lightning's  flash, 
like  a  Dervish  at  sight  of  gain.' 

They  are  credited  with  the  possession  of  special 
power  in  writing  effective  charms,  and  many  of 
them  trade  on  this,  and  on  their  reputed  sanctity, 
sometimes  becoming  quite  rich.  Our  Lord's  in- 
junction to  the  Twelve  Apostles,  '  Provide  neither 
gold,  nor  silver,  nor  brass  in  your  purses '  (St.  Matt, 
x.  9),  was,  in  my  opinion,  directed  against  some 
such  abuse  of  the  miraculous  power  He  had 
bestowed  upon  them,  and  not  intended,  as  is 
commonly  held,  to  forbid  them  to  take  any  money 


with  them.*  In  short,  He  prohibited  them  from 
trading  on  the  possession  of  these  gifts,  and  from 
using  them  for  their  personal  enrichment,  instead 
of  as  proofs  of  their  Divine  commission. 

In  connection  with  this  subject,  it  may  be  in- 
teresting to  note  that  there  is  at  the  present  time 
a  very  remarkable  illustration  of  the  missions  of 
the  Twelve,  and  the  Seventy,  in  the  case  of  the 
Mohammedan  sect  of  the  Shazeliyeh  mentioned 
above.  This  sect  has  in  recent  years  had  a  fresh 
impetus  given  to  it  by  a  remarkable  woman  in 
Southern  Syria,  who  is  considered  a  kind  of 
prophetess  among  her  adherents.  She  sends  her 
disciples  out  for  weeks  at  a  time,  to  go  about  the 
country  and  preach  the  peculiar  tenets  of  the  sect. 
They  are  at  home  for  the  greater  part  of  the 
year  following  their  occupations  of  agriculturists, 
carpenters,  weavers,  etc.,  and  for  the  remainder 
they  go  about  from  village  to  village,  receiving  no 
remuneration  for  the  work,  but  subsisting  on  the 
hospitality  of  the  peasantry,  and  teaching  as  oppor- 
tunity offers. 

But  even  on  the  ordinary  acceptation  of  our 
Lord's  command  above  mentioned,  it  would  be  a 
very  different  thing  to  the  Apostles  to  what  it 
would  be  to  one  in  our  present  conditions  of  life 
and  society,  or  to  a  Western  going  to  the  Orient. 
There  is  to-day  very  little  cash  in  circulation  in 
Palestine,  and  the  same  probably  held  good  of  our 

*  A  comparison  of  the  few  passages  in  the  New  Testament 
where  the  word  Krao/  occurs  shows  that  it  always  has  the 
meaning  of  '  acquire ,  or  '  obtain.1 



Lord's  time.  This  is  due  to  a  variety  of  causes  : 
it  is  owing  partly  to  the  custom,  which  obtains 
largely  in  the  East,  of  hoarding  coin  ;  and  partly 
to  the  fact  that  comparatively  little  money  is 
coined.  The  want  of  it  is,  moreover,  not  felt 
nearly  so  keenly  as  it  would  be  in  Europe.  A 
man  may  have  vineyards  and  oliveyards,  goats  and 
sheep,  several  yoke  of  oxen,  a  good  stock  of  wheat, 
oil,  and  dried  figs,  all  he  needs,  in  fact,  for  his  daily 
wants,  and  withal  have  little  or  no  ready  money. 
Thus,  for  one  to  say,  as  St.  Peter  did  to  the  lame 
man  at  the  Beautiful  Gate  of  the  Temple,  '  Silver 
and  gold  have  I  none  '  (Acts  iii.  6),  would  not 
necessarily  imply  abject  poverty.  It  would  also 
be  in  fullest  accord,  at  the  present  time,  with  the 
condition  of  one  such  as  the  same  Apostle,  to  have 
no  ready  money,  either  with  him  or  in  his  house, 
with  which  to  pay  the  Temple  tax  of  the  half- 
shekel  (St.  Matt.  xvii.  24-27).  To-day  numbers  of 
people  in  Palestine  go  long  journeys  with  little  or 
no  money,  and  find  hardly  any  difficulty,  and  see 
no  hardship  in  so  doing. 

Not  long  ago  I  was  travelling  east  of  the  Jordan, 
and  on  arriving  at  the  bridge  over  that  river,  below 
Jericho,  found  it  blocked  by  a  large  caravan  from 
Moab,  on  its  way  to  Jerusalem  ;  the  reason  of  the 
delay  being  that  the  owners  of  the  caravan  could 
not  muster  enough  money  among  them  to  pay  the 
small  tax  for  crossing  the  bridge,  and  finally  had 
to  leave  some  articles  in  pledge  with  the  custodian, 
to  be  redeemed  on  their  return  after  the  sale  oi 
their  merchandise  in  the  Holy  City. 


The  village  mosques,  or  Mohammedan  places  of 
worship,  are  for  the  most  part  miserable  buildings, 
dark  and  dirty,  with  nothing  whatever  in  their 
outward  appearance  to  show  that  they  are  sacred 
edifices.  They  are  absolutely  devoid  of  furniture, 
unless  this  name  can  be  applied  to  a  few  straw 
mats  rolled  up  and  put  away  in  a  corner  till 
required.  They  may  have  a  Mihrdb,  or  small 
apse-like  niche,  indicating  the  Kibleh,  or  direction 
of  Mecca,  towards  which  all  Mohammedans  turn 
their  faces  at  prayer ;  but  this  is  infrequent. 
Occasionally  in  the  larger  villages  a  more  preten- 
tious building  may  be  seen,  and  one  kept  in  better 
order,  with  now  and  then  a  Mcdaneh,  the  well- 
known  chimney  -  like  tower  from  which  the 
Muezzin  calls  to  prayer  five  times  a  day.*  Some 
of  these  mosques  (and  many  of  those  in  the  towns) 
have  been  Christian  churches  in  bygone  years. 
Usually  the  mosque,  whether  large  or  small,  has  a 
courtyard,  shaded  by  one  or  more  spreading  trees, 
and  in  this  courtyard  during  the  greater  part  of 
the  year  the  Moslems  say  their  prayers,  the  village 
school  is  held,  and  the  elders  of  the  hamlet  receive 
their  guests ;  for  the  same  building  is  very  often 
both  guest-house  and  mosque  in  one,  and  the  guests 
eat  and  sleep  in  it  or  in  the  courtyard  outside, 
according  to  the  season  of  the  year. 

It  has  often  been  remarked  that  Islam  is  a  creed 

*  The  Arabic  term  '  Minaret,-1  which  has  practically  become 
an  English  word,  and  is  always  used  to  designate  these  towers 
or  steeples,  is,  as  thus  employed,  quite  incorrect,  its  real 
meaning  being  a  '  lighthouse.*1 


without  a  sacrifice  for  sin.  As  far  as  Mohammedan 
theology  is  concerned,  this  is,  I  believe,  correct. 
In  Palestine,  however,  the  yearly  sacrifice  of  the 
DthaMyeh,  which  is  offered  at  the  same  time  as  the 
Hajj  (pilgrims  to  Mecca)  are  slaying  the  victims 
at  Mount  'Arafat,  is  regarded  by  the  Moslem 
peasants  as  a  Kifdrah — that  is,  a  satisfaction  for 
their  sins.  In  some  villages,  moreover,  they  put 
the  blood  of  this  sacrifice  on  the  doorposts  and 
upper  lintels  of  their  houses.  In  one  village  near 
Jerusalem  I  have  seen  many  houses  with  the  blood 
thus  sprinkled  on  the  doorposts,  while  some  had 
in  addition  two  of  the  victim's  feet  stuck  in  a  hole 
in  the  door,  these  being  left  the  whole  year  till  the 
next  feast  comes  round. 

In  two  or  three  mixed  hamlets  (Moslems  and 
Christians)  with  which  I  am  acquainted,  the  Chris- 
tians, either  just  before  Lent  or  at  Easter,  kill  a 
goat  or  sheep,  and  put  the  blood  on  the  upper 
lintel  in  the  form  of  a  cross,  and  on  the  side-posts 
in  spots.  These  villages  are  all  situated  in  the 
district  known  as  that  of  the  Beni  Zeid,  whose 
Moslem  inhabitants  always  observe  this  custom  at 
the  feast  of  the  Dthahiych,  as  described  above. 
The  custom  seems  to  be  a  very  local  one,  but 
whether  it  has  been  derived  by  the  Moslems  from 
the  Christians  or  vice  versa  I  cannot  say. 

In  addition  to  this  feast,  several  religious  seasons 
or  festivals  are  observed  by  the  Moslems  with  more 
or  less  strictness.  The  most  noteworthy  of  these 
is  Ramadthan,  or  the  month  of  fasting.  In  some 
respects  it  is  a  misuse  of  words  to  call  this  period 


one  of  fasting,  as  in  the  case  of  the  well-to-do 
Mohammedans  they  simply  turn  night  into  day, 
and  throughout  the  month  have  a  nightly  feast  on 
the  daintiest  dishes  that  Arab  cookery  can  devise. 
With  the  poorer  classes,  but  especially  with  the 
Fellahin,  the  case  is  very  different.  The  Koran 
directs  that  during  Ramadthan  neither  meat  nor 
drink  shall  pass  the  Moslem's  lips  from  the  time 
that  it  becomes  light  enough  to  distinguish  between 
a  white  thread  and  a  black  one,  until  sunset. 

The  Fellahin  are,  for  the  most  part,  very  strict 
in  their  observance  of  this  fast  (much  more  so, 
indeed,  than  the  townspeople),  and  when  this 
month  falls  in  the  hot  season,  when  the  days  are 
at  the  longest  and  the  nights  at  the  shortest,  it  is 
a  very  heavy  burden  to  them.  More  particularly 
is  this  true  of  the  prohibition  to  drink  water, 
especially  in  harvest-time  or  when  there  is  other 
hard  labour  to  be  undergone.  In  Jerusalem  and 
other  towns  a  cannon  is  fired  at  sunset,  announcing 
to  all  the  country  round  that  the  hour  for  food  has 
come.  I  was  once  riding  home  to  Jerusalem  at 
the  beginning  of  summer  during  Ramadthan.  A 
shower  of  rain  had  fallen  earlier  in  the  day,  and 
there  were  puddles  in  the  road.  Just  at  sunset  I 
met  some  young  men  —  Moslems  —  returning  to 
their  homes  from  their  work  in  the  city.  As  I 
came  up  with  them  the  boom  of  the  sunset  gun 
was  borne  on  the  breeze  from  Jerusalem.  Instantly 
one  of  them  threw  himself  on  his  face  on  the 
ground  and  drank  with  feverish  eagerness  from  a 
puddle  by  the  wayside. 


In  the  spring,  about  Easter,  occurs  the  Moslem 
feast  of  Neby  Musa,  or  the  prophet  Moses,  which  is 
largely  attended  by  the  Fellahin  from  the  district 
round  Jerusalem  and  other  parts  of  the  country.  It 
is  a  purely  local  feast,  and  is  said  to  have  been 
instituted  as  a  kind  of  counter-demonstration  to 
the  gathering  of  Christian  pilgrims  from  foreign 
countries  at  Jerusalem  during  Holy  Week. 

The  feast  lasts  seven  days,  in  the  course  of  which 
the  pilgrims  visit  the  reputed  tomb  of  Moses,  which 
Moslem  tradition  places  west  of  the  Jordan,  on  the 
foot-hills  in  the  Ghor,  about  an  hour  and  a  half 
outh-west  of  Jericho.  There  are  large  buildings 
at  the  tomb  for  the  accommodation  of  those  who 
visit  the  shrine  during  the  feast,  thousands  going 
there  every  year.  The  Fellahin  come  up  to  Jeru- 
salem in  numbers  from  all  the  villages  for  many 
miles  round,  dressed  in  their  best.  Each  company 
has  one  or  more  banners  of  red  or  green  silk, 
embroidered  with  passages  from  the  Koran,  and  is 
accompanied  by  the  sound  of  cymbals  and  drums. 
They  gather  in  Jerusalem  some  time  before  the 
feast,  many  of  them  being  lodged  in  the  Haram 
and  its  numerous  buildings.  On  the  opening  day 
of  the  festival  a  great  service  is  held  in  the  Mosque 
of  Omar,  which  building  the  Arabs  call  '  The  Dome 
of  the  Rock.'  This  ceremony  is  attended  by  the 
Governor  of  Jerusalem  and  all  the  great  officials, 
civil  and  military,  and  at  its  conclusion  a  long  pro- 
cession starts  for  Neby  Musa  with  banners  flying, 
drums  beating,  cymbals  clashing,  guns  firing,  and 
all  the  noise  so  dear  to  an  Eastern's  heart.     Both 

A  WELY  25 

children  and  adults  look  forward  to  it  as  the  one 
great  holiday  of  the  year. 

Another  local  feast  is  that  of  Rubin,  a  famous 
AVely  in  the  maritime  plain  near  the  sea,  and  about 
two  and  a  half  hours  south  of  Jaffa.  The  people 
encamp  round  the  shrine  in  thousands,  remaining 
for  several  days.  These  and  similar  gatherings  are 
fruitful  of  disease.  The  herding  together  of  great 
crowds  in  a  small  area,  amidst  insanitary  surround- 
ings, with  often  a  scanty  or  polluted  water-supply, 
is  a  frequent  originator  of  epidemics,  which  are 
carried  by  the  returning  pilgrims  to  their  own 

The  traveller  in  Palestine  will  often  see  a  little 
clump  of  trees  with  the  white  dome  of  a  low  stone 
building  peeping  out  of  the  dark-green  foliage,  and 
on  inquiring  what  it  is  will  be  told  that  it  is  a  Weiy, 
or  saint — that  is,  his  reputed  tomb.  These  build- 
ings are  usually,  though  not  invariably,  on  the 
tops  of  hills,  and  can  be  seen  for  many  miles  round, 
some  of  them,  indeed,  forming  landmarks  for  a 
great  distance.  Who  these  Ouliah  were  is  for  the 
most  part  lost  in  obscurity ;  but  the  real  explana- 
tion is  that  they  mark  the  site  of  some  of  the 
old  Canaanitish  high  places,  which  we  know,  from 
many  passages  in  the  Old  Testament,  were  not  all 
destroyed  by  the  Israelites  when  they  took  posses- 
sion of  the  land,  becoming  in  subsequent  ages  a 
frequent  cause  of  sin  to  them. 

There  is  generally,  but  not  always,  a  grove  ot 
trees  round  the  Wely.  The  oak  is  the  kind  most 
commonly  found  in  these  groves  at  the  present 


day,  as  would  appear  to  have  been  also  the  case  ill 
Bible  times,  especially  in  the  hill  country.  Besides 
the  oak — which  is  invariably  the  evergreen  kind, 
and  not  the  deciduous  species  of  our  English 
woods  — the  terebinth,  tamarisk,  sidr,  or  nubk  (the 
Zizjiphiis-sp'uia-CJiristi,  sometimes  called  Dom  by 
Europeans),  and  other  trees,  are  to  be  seen  as  well. 
Occasionally  the  grove  is  represented  by  one  large 
solitary  tree  under  whose  shade  the  Wely  nestles. 

The  shrine  itself  usually  consists  of  a  plain  stone 
building,  for  the  most  part  windowless,  but  having 
a  Mikrdb,  or  prayer-niche.  It  is  kept  in  fair  repair 
as  a  rule,  and  whitewashed  from  time  to  time 
both  inside  and  out.  Occasionally  a  grave  is  to 
be  found  inside,  under  the  dome,  an  ugly  erection 
of  stone  plastered  over,  about  3  feet  high,  and 
frequently  of  abnormal  length  ;  that  of  the  so-called 
grave  of  Joshua,  near  Es  Salt,  east  of  the  Jordan. 
is  over  30  feet  in  length. 

Occasionally  there  is  no  building  over  the  tomb, 
and  in  such  case,  where  it  is  one  of  great  sanctity, 
the  most  extraordinary  collection  imaginable  of  odds 
and  ends  is  to  be  found  on  and  around  the  grave, 
having  been  placed  there  by  way  of  honouring  the 
dead  saint,  and  of  claiming  his  intercession  at  the 
Day  of  Judgment  on  behalf  of  those  who  have 
thus  reverenced  his  memory  on  earth.  The  most 
striking  instance  I  have  seen  of  this  latter  kind  of 
Wely  was  the  so-called  tomb  of  Noah  at  Kerak, 
the  ancient  Kir  of  Moab,  before  the  present  con- 
ventional building  was  erected  over  it.  The 
accompanying   illustration  gives  some  idea  of  its 




To  face  page  27. 


former  condition,  and  of  the  marvellous  assortment 
of  old  clay  lamps,  bits  of  broken  glass,  coloured 
rags,  sticks,  bones,  and  miscellaneous  articles  of 
every  description,  which  had  been  deposited  there 
by  the  votaries  of  the  prophet.  With  the  same 
idea  many  tie  pieces  of  rag  to  the  boughs  of  trees 
growing  around  a  Wely,  or,  where  there  is  no  tree, 
to  the  bars  of  the  windows  (if  there  be  one)  of  the 

The  Moslems  stand  in  great  awe  of  these  saints, 
especially  of  the  more  famous  of  them,  and  often 
really  fear  them  more  than  they  fear  God.  Thus, 
they  fully  believe  that  should  they  swear  by  one 
of  these  shrines  to  do,  or  not  to  do,  any  certain 
thing,  and  should  be  false  to  their  oath,  some 
fearful  calamity  would  overtake  them,  whereas  to 
break  a  promise  made  in  the  name  of  the  Almighty 
they  consider  to  be  a  far  less  serious  matter.  With 
the  same  idea  ploughs  and  other  agricultural  imple- 
ments, bundles  of  firewood,  and  other  articles,  are 
often  left  under  the  shadow  of  one  of  the  trees  of  a 
Wely,  or  within  a  considerable  radius  of  the  shrine. 
The  accompanying  illustration  shows  a  number 
of  ploughs  round  such  a  tomb  in  the  Jebel  Ajlun 
far  away  from  any  village  or  human  habitation. 
Things  so  left  are  quite  safe,  as  they  are  considered 
to  be  under  the  protection  of  the  saint ;  and  should 
anyone  dare  to  steal  any  of  them,  the  Wely  would 
speedily  avenge  the  insult  done  to  his  name  and 
shrine  by  some  condign  punishment. 

In  a  few  cases  there  is  neither  tomb  nor  grave, 
but   only  a  sacred   tree   which    tradition,    handed 


down  from  father  to  son,  declares  to  be  the  site  of 
some  Wely,  and  which  is  reverenced  accordingly. 
The  Mohammedans  consider  it  unlawful  to  use  the 
branches  of  these  trees  for  fuel,  believing  that  were 
they  to  do  so  the  curse  of  the  saint  would  rest 
upon  them  ;  and  it  is  very  remarkable,  in  a  country 
where  firewood  is  so  scarce,  to  see  huge  boughs 
fallen  from  these  sacred  trees  lying  rotting  on  the 
ground.  In  one  case  only  will  the  Moslems  use 
such  wood  as  fuel,  and  that  is  when,  as  is 
occasionally  done,  they  make  a  feast  at  the  Wely 
in  the  saint's  honour. 

The  Christian  peasants  are  not  so  scrupulous, 
and  do  sometimes  employ  the  fallen  wood  sur- 
reptitiously, for  domestic  purposes. 

On  Thursday  evenings,  the  day  on  which  the 
Mohammedans  visit  the  graves  of  their  dead,  little 
oil-lamps  are  often  lit  in  the  Welys  in  honour  of  the 
saints  buried  there.  Some  even  of  the  Christian 
women,  in  the  more  ignorant  and  out-of-the-way 
villages,  observe  this  custom. 

Travelling  about  the  country  one  often  sees  by 
the  wayside  little  piles  of  stones  a  foot  or  eighteen 
inches  high,  formed  of  single  stones,  sometimes  to 
the  number  of  five  or  six,  dexterously  poised  one 
on  the  top  of  another.  These  miniature  pillars  are 
in  honour  of  some  famous  Wely,  and  are  usually 
found  at  the  point  where  it  first  becomes  visible,  or 
from  which  a  specially  good  view  of  it  can  be 
obtained.  As  instances  of  these  Kanatir,  as  they 
are  called,  may  be  mentioned  those  a  little  above 
Bethel,  where,  on  approaching  from  the  north,  the 
first  distant  view  of  Jerusalem  is  obtained  ;   and 

A    VILLAGE    EAST    OF    THE    JORDAN'. 

IT*  '^fes? 

.     3 

$       V 

To  fact  oage  28. 

KANATlR  29 

those  below  Jericho,  about  two-thirds  of  the  way 
to  the  bridge  over  the  Jordan  at  a  spot  whence  the 
Moslem  shrine  of  Neby  Musa  can  be  seen.#  The 
idea  of  these  pillars,  as  with  the  other  modes  of 
honouring  the  dead  saint  or  prophet,  is  to  obtain 
his  intercession  on  the  Day  of  Judgment. 

In  connection  with  this  subject,  it  is  noteworthy 
that  the  idea  of  intercession,  whether  of  dead  saints 
or  of  the  living,  is  one  deeply  rooted  in  the  minds 
of  the  people  of  Palestine.  Thus,  if  they  wish  to 
ask  a  favour  from  a  superior,  they  infinitely  prefer 
to  get  a  third  person  to  intercede  for  them,  to 
going  themselves  directly  to  the  one  who  can  grant 
their  request.  They  find  it  very  difficult  to  believe 
that,  for  instance,  an  English  medical  man  in 
charge  of  a  hospital  will  do  his  best  for  a  patient, 
unless  the  latter  bring  with  him  a  letter  of  recom- 
mendation from  some  mutual  friend  begging  the 
doctor  to  use  all  his  skill  for  that  particular  case. 
Many  do  bring  such  letters  with  them,  to  the  great 
annoyance,  sometimes,  of  the  European  doctor, 
especially  if  he  be  new  to  the  country  and  unaware 
of  this  trait  of  the  native  character. 

A  very  strong  belief  in  El  Kadr,  or  fate,  exists 
among  the  Fellahin.  This  is,  of  course,  essentially 
a  Mohammedan  doctrine,  but  the  Christians — that 
is  to  say,  the  more  ignorant  ones  among  them — 
are  largely  influenced  by  it.  The  orthodox  Moslem 
holds  that  all  the  incidents  of  a  man's  life  are  pre- 

*  These  are  not  by  any  means  the  best  specimens  of  these 
pillars  to  be  found.  They  are  mentioned  here  as  being  those 
most  likely  to  be  noticed  by  travellers.  The  best  I  have  seen 
are  on  much  more  unfrequented  roads. 


determined  in  the  eternal  decree  of  God,  being 
written,  though  invisibly  to  human  eye,  on  the 
forehead  of  each  individual.  Such  a  belief  if 
followed  to  its  logical  conclusion  would,  of  course, 
be  destructive  of  all  civil  government  by  reducing 
men  to  mere  automata,  doing  only  what  they  had 
been  before  ordained  to  accomplish,  whether  good 
or  bad,  and  mechanically  carrying  out  a  prescribed 
set  of  actions,  thus  depriving  them  of  all  true  per- 
sonalit}7  and  moral  responsibility.  But  the  Oriental 
mind  is  not  a  logical  one,  and  as  a  matter  of  fact, 
while  holding  this  belief,  a  man  will  admit,  if 
pressed,  his  own  responsibility  for  his  good  and 
bad  deeds,  much  as  the  average  Western.  This 
may  be  illustrated  by  one  of  their  proverbs  which 
runs  :  '  Don't  throw  your  child  from  the  roof,  and 
say  "  Inevitable  fate."  ' 

In  practice  this  doctrine,  coupled  with  a  general 
tendency  to  take  things  easily,  causes  both  Moslems 
and  Christians  to  be  very  lax  about  precautions  of 
any  kind.  Thus,  roads  along  the  edge  of  precipices 
are  often  left  without  any  protecting  wall  on  the 
outer  side,  or  with  only  one  of  the  flimsiest  descrip- 
tion ;  houses,  whose  roofs  are  used  almost  as  much 
as  any  part  of  them,  are  built  without  parapets  ;  in 
times  of  epidemics  the  simplest  and  most  ordinary 
precautions  are  neglected  altogether,  or,  if  begun, 
are  quickly  dropped.  I  have  known  more  than  one 
case  where  an  intelligent  man  has  built  a  house 
without  a  parapet  round  the  roof,  and,  when  one  of 
the  children  was  killed  by  a  fall  from  it,  to  have 
merely  remarked,  •  Such  was  the  will  of  God.' 

FATE  31 

The  following  story,  which  has  given  rise  to  one 
of  their  proverbs  (a  story  which  probably  has  its 
parallel  in  the  literature  of  most  countries),  is  told 
by  way  of  illustration  of  fate  : 

There  was  once  a  certain  widow  who  had  an 
only  son,  to  whom  she  was  devotedly  attached. 
One  summer  the  cholera  broke  out  in  the  village 
where  they  lived.  The  mother,  fearful  lest  her  son 
should  be  stricken,  resolved  to  keep  him  shut  up  in 
her  house  so  long  as  the  epidemic  lasted.  Accord- 
ingly, she  fitted  up  a  recess  in  one  of  her  rooms 
very  comfortably,  and  carefully  closed  it  in.  Here 
she  put  her  son,  and  waited  on  him  most 
assiduously,  hoping  thus  to  keep  him  from  infec- 
tion. One  day,  when  the  grapes  began  to  ripen, 
she  went  to  the  vineyard  and  gathered  several 
bunches,  which  she  brought  to  her  son.  Hidden 
in  one  of  them  was  a  small  venomous  snake,  which 
bit  the  boy  as  he  was  eating  the  fruit,  and  in  a  few 
minutes  he  died.  After  a  while  the  mother,  coming 
to  the  recess,  found  her  son  dead,  whereupon  she 
broke  forth  in  the  following  lines  : 

1  What  God  had  decreed  has  happened  indeed. 
In  casket  concealed;  thy  fate  unrepealed, 
In  vain  would  I  hide  thee :  death  must  betide  thee/ 

The  doctrine  of  T/iozvivab,  or  merit,  is  widely  held 
by  Moslems  in  Palestine.  They  believe  that  after 
death  a  man's  good  and  evil  deeds  are  weighed 
against  each  other,  and  that  his  future  condition 
for  eternity  will  be  according  as  the  one  or  the 
other    preponderates.      Anything,    therefore,    like 


almsgiving,  repeating  the  ninety-nine  names  of 
God,  works  of  supererogation  (such,  for  example, 
as  praying  more  than  the  five  appointed  times  in 
the  day),  making  the  pilgrimage  to  Mecca  more 
than  once,  etc.,  are  all  considered  to  add  to  a  mans 
chances  of  salvation  or  to  affect  his  relative  posi- 
tion in  the  world  to  come.  I  have  several  times 
heard  Moslems  thus  account  for  the  work  of  Chris- 
tian medical  missions  and  deeds  of  charity  towards 
non-Christians,  things  which  otherwise  are  utterly 
inexplicable  to  them,  but  which  on  the  ground 
of  accumulating  merit  are,  they  think,  easily 
accounted  for. 

It  is  considered  a  meritorious  action  to  put 
drinking  water  by  the  wayside  for  thirsty  passers- 
by.  In  the  plains,  cisterns  fed  from  deep  wells  by 
means  of  water-wheels  are  much  used  for  irriga- 
tion ;  if  near  the  edge  of  the  road,  these  cisterns 
will  usually  have  a  tap  for  the  use  of  travellers, 
with  a  trough  below,  so  that  both  men  and  beasts 
can  quench  their  thirst.  One  year,  when  the  winter 
rainfall  had  been  very  scanty  and  the  wayside 
springs  near  Bethel  had  dried  up,  the  people  of 
that  village  built  a  little  hut  by  the  road,  in  which 
they  placed  a  large  jar  of  water  for  the  use  of  the 
passers-by,  the  jar  being  continually  replenished 
throughout  the  long  dry  summer. 

Usually  classed  with  Mohammedans  by  Western 
writers,  but  in  reality  quite  distinct  from  them,  are 
the  Druzes.  They  are  found  on  Carmel  and 
scattered  about  Northern  Palestine,  but  their 
strongholds  are  the  Lebanon  and  the  Hauran  (the 


ancient  Bashan),  especially  that  part  of  the  latter 
known  as  the  Jebel  ed  Druze.  Their  religion  is 
essentially  an  esoteric  one,  it  being  of  its  very 
essence  to  conceal  its  real  doctrines  from  every 
outsider,  of  whatever  creed.  In  conversation  with 
a  Moslem  they  profess  to  accept  the  Koran,  and 
claim  that  in  all  fundamental  matters  of  doctrine 
and  practice  they  are  one  with  the  followers  of 
Mohammed ;  but  to  a  Christian,  on  the  other 
hand,  they  would  say  that  there  is  no  practical 
difference  between  themselves  and  the  Nusareh. 

The  great  majority  of  them,  however,  are  prob- 
ably in  complete  ignorance  as  to  the  real  tenets  of 
their  own  faith,  these  being  only  known  to  the 
small  inner  circle  of  '  Initiated '  or  '  Wise  '  ( Ulema, 
as  they  are  called),  the  great  bulk  of  them  being 
'Uninitiated'  or  'Ignorant'  {Juhaleh).  Women 
may  be,  and  are,  admitted  into  the  inner  circle  of 
*  Wise,'  but  so  fearful  are  they  of  their  secrets  being 
revealed  that  such  women  are  not  allowed  to  bring 
their  infants  with  them  to  their  religious  gatherings 
after  the  latter  are  about  a  year  old.  These  gather- 
ings are  held  in  a  building  called  KJialwah  (a  word 
meaning  isolated  or  retired),  a  plain,  unadorned 
structure  in  some  lonely  spot,  far  from  any  human 
habitation.  The  only  thing  that  to  an  outsider 
distinguishes  the  '  Initiated  '  from  the  '  Uninitiated  ' 
is  that,  while  in  common  with  Moslems  both 
abstain  from  the  use  of  alcohol,  the  former  also 
never  drink  coffee  nor  smoke  tobacco,  whereas  the 
latter  are  allowed  to  do  both. 

Little  or  nothing  is  known  with  certainty  about 


the  doctrines  or  practices  of  the  Druze  religion.  It 
is  generally  said,  and  I  believe  correctly,  that  they 
hold  the  doctrine  of  the  transmigration  of  souls, 
but  that  is  about  the  most  that  can  be  at  all  con- 
fidently affirmed.* 

*  One  or  two  things  I  have  quite  accidentally  ascertained 
point  to  the  possibility  of  the  Druze  worship  being  a  survival 
of  the  Israelitish  calf  cult.  I  mention  this  with  great  diffi- 
dence, and  only  as  a  possible  hint  to  students. 

V  -J* 

r*\  I 


religion  {continued) 

The  Christians,  who,  next  to  the  Moslems,  are  the 
most  numerous  of  the  religious  bodies  found  in 
Syria  at  the  present  day,  are  the  successors  of 
those  who  lived  in  Palestine  at  the  time  of  the 
Mohammedan  conquest  at  the  close  of  the  seventh 
century  a.d.  When  the  Holy  Land  fell  before  the 
sword  of  Khalid  and  the  other  Moslem  generals,  a 
considerable  section  of  the  population  sooner  or 
later  embraced  Islam ;  but  a  by  no  means  in- 
significant number  refused  to  give  up  the  faith  of 
their  fathers.  Their  descendants  for  generation 
after  generation,  spite  of  almost  every  conceivable 
inducement  to  renounce  Christianity,  notwith- 
standing nearly  every  indignity,  civil,  social,  and 
religious,  which  a  fanatical  ingenuity  could  devise, 
although  treated  as  scarcely  human,  and  their  lives 
held  to  be  worth  less  than  those  of  the  cattle,  yet 
clung  with  an  intense,  if  often  blind  and  ignorant, 
tenacity  to  what  they  believed  to  be  the  religion 
of  Jesus  Christ.  Erroneous  as  much  of  that  belief 
was  and  is,  low,  too,  as  they  have  sunk  as  far  as  all 
spiritual  life  is  concerned,  we  cannot  but  honour 

35  3—2 


them  for  what  they  have  borne  for  their  faith  in 
the  past,  and  seek  to  help  them  now  to  rise  to  a 
purer  conception  and  a  fuller  knowledge  of  what 
that  faith  really  is. 

It  is  difficult,  even  for  those  familiar  with  the 
East,  to  realize  now  the  extent  to  which  Christians 
were  formerly  made  to  feel  their  inferiority  to 
Moslems.  None  but  Moslems,  for  instance,  were 
allowed  to  wear  any  article  of  clothing  of  a  green 
colour,  that  being  the  sacred  hue  of  Islam,  or 
even  to  use  for  that  purpose  material  having 
anything  of  that  colour  in  it.  I  have  known  of  a 
case  where  four  men  savagely  assaulted  a  Christian 
in  whose  Kumbaz,  or  long  loose  robe,  they  detected 
a  minute  thread  of  green.  In  the  large  towns 
Christians  were  not  allowed  on  the  side-walks,  but 
had  to  keep  to  the  centre  of  the  street  with  the 
donkeys  and  other  beasts  of  burden.  In  any  place 
of  public  resort,  such  as  a  cafe,  should  a  Christian 
inadvertently  sit  down  on  the  right  hand  of  a 
Moslem,  he  was  instantly  greeted  wTith  shouts  of 
'  Ishmalya  JVusrdni '  (Go  to  the  left,  you  Nazarene  !). 
His  evidence  was  absolutely  inadmissible  in  a  court 
of  law,  however  much  he  might  be  respected  even 
by  his  Moslem  fellow-citizens.  Within  the  memory 
of  some  still  living,  the  written  permission,  which 
had  (in  towns  at  least)  to  be  obtained  from  the 
local  Kadi,  or  magistrate,  before  the  body  of  a 
deceased  Christian  could  be  buried,  was  couched  in 
the  following  terms : 

'  I,  So-and-so,  give  permission  for  the  burial  of 
the   unbeliever   So-and-so,  son   of  So-and-so,  the 


damned,  lest  the  smell  of  his  corpse  should  injure  a 

It  is  not  to  be  wondered  if,  in  such  circum- 
stances, the  bitterest  feelings  were  cherished 
towards  the  Moslems.  Scorn  was  repaid  with 
scorn.  Even  now,  though  in  the  last  fifty  years 
matters  have  wonderfully  altered  for  the  better, 
much  of  the  old  feeling  still  remains,  and  in 
particular  any  attempt  to  win  the  Moslems  to  the 
faith  of  Christ  is,  by  many  of  the  native  Christians, 
looked  upon  as  casting  pearls  before  swine. 

Throughout  Palestine  proper  the  great  majority 
of  the  Christians  belong  to  the  Orthodox  Greek 
Church,  which  is  probably  the  lineal  descendant,  as 
far  as  any  community  can  be  said  to  be  such,  of 
the  local  body  of  Christians  of  the  first  century. 
Some,  however,  I  believe,  consider  the  Syrian  or 
Jacobite  to  be  the  true  National  Church  of  the 
Holy  Land.  The  Orthodox  Greeks  are  very 
exclusive,  refusing  not  only  to  recognise  the  Orders 
of  any  other  Christian  community  as  valid,  but 
also  declining  to  admit  their  baptism  as  even  lay 
baptism.  I  have  been  assured  that  should  anyone 
wish  to  join  them  from  any,  even  of  the  other 
Oriental  communions,  they  would  insist  on  rebap- 
tism  by  a  Greek  priest. 

In  the  Lebanon  most  of  the  Christian  peasantry 
belong  to  the  Maronite  community.  This  is  a 
distinct  Church,  with  its  own  ritual,  festivals, 
calendar  of  saints,  Orders,  etc.,  but  in  communion 
with  the  Church  of  Rome. 

In  a  few  places  Armenians  are  to  be  found.     In 


doctrine  they  are  Monophysites,  but  in  other 
respects  there  is  not  much  difference  between  them 
and  the  Orthodox  Greeks.  Indeed,  their  Church 
is  in  Palestine  really  a  foreign  one,  consisting  of 
congregations  of  the  National  Church  of  Armenia, 
the  members  being  Armenians  by  race,  and  the 
services  conducted  in  that  language.  They  are 
distinguished  from  the  other  Churches  in  Palestine 
in  the  time  of  their  celebration  of  Christmas.  They 
keep  this  feast  on  the  same  day  as  that  of  the 
Epiphany  and  our  Lord's  baptism.  In  common 
with  both  Eastern  and  Western  Christendom,  they 
assign  January  6  as  the  date  of  these  two  festivals, 
and,  interpreting  St.  Luke  iii.  22,  23,  to  mean  that 
the  Saviour  was  baptized  on  His  birthday,  they  con- 
sequently keep  that  day  as  the  Feast  of  the  Nativity. 
In  addition  to  the  Greek  Orthodox  Church  there 
is  the  so-called  Greek  Catholic  Community,  a  body 
which  has  split  off  from  the  former,  and  which  is 
regarded  by  them  as  unorthodox  and  schismatical. 
They  acknowledge  the  supremacy  of  the  Pope  as 
Head  of  the  Church  on  earth,  while  retaining  the  dis- 
tinctive rites  and  ceremonies  of  the  Greek  Church.* 

*  Besides  the  Greek  Catholics,  there  are  Armenian 
Catholics,  Syrian  Catholics,  etc.  These  bodies  are  some- 
times known  as  the  '  Uniat  Churches,1  and  are  of  compara- 
tively recent  origin.  Wherever  the  term  '  Greek '  is  used  in 
this  book,  it  is,  unless  the  contrary  be  expressly  mentioned,  to 
be  understood  of  creed,  and  not  of  race.  It  is  unfortunate 
that  there  is  no  recognised  term  in  English  for  members  of 
the  Greek  Church  as  distinguished  from  those  of  the  Hellenic- 
race.  In  Arabic  there  is  no  such  ambiguity,  the  former 
being  known  as  Rum,  and  the  latter  as  Yiindn. 


Besides  the  Oriental  Churches,  there  is  the  Roman 
(or  Latin,  as  it  is  called  in  the  Levant)  Church, 
which  has  in  recent  times  established  monastic 
houses,  built  churches,  and  gathered  congregations 
drawn  from  these  Eastern  communions.  All  their 
distinctive  characteristics  are  of  Western  origin, 
and  therefore  do  not  call  for  detailed  notice  in  a 
work  dealing  specially  with  Oriental  Churches  and 

There  exist  also  a  number  of  Protestant  con- 
gregations, chiefly  in  connection  with  the  Church 
Missionary  Society  of  the  Church  of  England. 
These  congregations,  though  not  large,  relatively 
to  those  of  some  other  Churches,  yet  exert  a  very 
considerable  influence  for  good  in  the  country,  an 
influence  much  beyond  that  which  their  numbers 
would  account  for,  and  which  is  none  the  less  real 
because  it  is  often  indirect. 

In  connection  with  the  Greek  Church  in 
Palestine  there  is  a  large  body  of  foreign  ecclesi- 
astics, who  monopolize  all  the  more  important 
posts  to  the  exclusion  of  native  clergy.  These 
foreigners  are  Greek  by  nationality,  often  knowing 
little  or  nothing  of  Arabic,  the  vernacular  of  the 
country.  The  monks  at  the  present  time  are 
entirely  Hellenic,  and  will  not  admit  a  native  of 
the  country  among  their  number.  The  reason  of 
this  exclusiveness  is  that  the  higher  Orders  of  the 
clergy  are  drawn  from  the  ranks  of  the  monastic 
Orders  only.  These  foreign  ecclesiastics  con- 
sequently exclude  the  natives  for  the  purpose  of 
retaining  the  power  and  control  of  the  Church  in 


their  own  hands.  As  is  inevitable  in  such  a  case, 
there  is  but  little  sympathy  between  the  two  bodies 
of  clergy,  a  fact  which  lias  worked  disastrously, 
and  is  so  working,  for  the  welfare  of  the  Greek 
Church  in  Palestine. 

The  village  priests  are  for  the  most  part  natives 
of  the  country,  and  very  frequently  of  the  place 
where  they  minister.  In  the  larger  villages,  how- 
ever, where  there  are  several  priests,  there  is  usually 
an  Hellenic  ecclesiastic  over  them,  who  is  called 
Rels,  or  Superior.  He  is  a  monk,  and  may  be,  and, 
indeed,  not  infrequently  is,  not  in  full  Orders,  and 
consequently  ecclesiastically  inferior  to  the  men 
over  whom  he  rules. 

The  Greek  clergy,  unlike  those  of  the  Roman 
Church  and  of  the  so-called  Catholic  branches  of 
the  Oriental  Churches,  are  allowed  to  marry,  but 
should  a  priest's  wife  predecease  him  he  is  not 
permitted  to  marry  again.  The  monks  must  all 
be  celibates,  and  also  the  higher  clergy. 

The  incomes  of  the  village  priests  are  small,  and 
they  receive  them  but  irregularly.  Their  salaries, 
such  as  they  are,  are  paid  by  the  Patriarch  in 
whose  province  they  live,  out  of  the  revenue  of 
the  patriarchate,  these  revenues  in  the  case  of 
the  Jerusalem  patriarchate,  which  includes  all 
Palestine,  being  very  large.  One  priest,  with 
whom  I  am  personally  acquainted,  has  a  salary  of 
eighteen  shillings  a  month,  which  would  be  an 
average  stipend  in  a  small  village ;  in  the  larger 
villages  they  receive  proportionally  more.  This 
particular  priest,  as  is  often  the  case,  lives  in  his 


pi"jf  -10. 


native  place,  and  has  house,  land,  olives,  etc.,  of 
his  own ;  consequently  whatever  he  receives  as 
priest  is  in  addition  to  what  he  has  as  an  ordinary 
peasant.  This  renders  him  comfortably  off,  as 
comfort  is  reckoned  in  the  East.  In  addition  to 
the  salary  attached  to  the  post,  a  Greek  cleric 
receives  fees  from  his  flock  at  baptisms,  weddings, 
and  on  other  occasions ;  and  should  a  sick  person 
send  for  him,  he  expects  to  be  paid  for  the  visit,  a 
bishlik  (5^d.)  being  the  usual  sum ! 

As  a  body  the  clergy  are  for  the  most  part  very 
ignorant.  There  is  no  middle  class  from  which  to 
draw  them ;  consequently  they  are  of  the  same 
social  position  as  the  humblest  of  their  flock,  and 
at  times  inferior  to  many  of  them  in  education. 
One  highly  respectable  old  priest,  whom  I  have 
known  for  many  years,  has  more  than  once  told  me 
that  all  the  education  he  ever  had  was  six  months 
at  school,  that  he  was  then  set  to  herd  the  cattle, 
and  from  this  occupation  was  taken  to  be  ordained. 
Such  men,  of  course,  never  preach ;  indeed,  preaching 
is  almost  unknown  in  the  village  places  of  worship, 
all  that  is  expected  of  the  clergy  being  limited, 
practically,  to  reading  through  the  services.  Not- 
withstanding these  facts,  the  priests  are  treated 
with  the  greatest  reverence  by  their  people,  not 
on  account  of  their  personal  character,  which,  sad 
to  say,  in  too  many  cases  will  not  bear  close 
inspection,  but  because  of  their  office. 

The  dress  of  the  Greek  priests  consists  of  a  long 
black  garment  like  a  cassock,  with  a  leathern  belt 
round  the  waist,  a  black  outer  robe  with  full  sleeves, 


resembling  a  preacher's  gown,  and  a  tall  black 
cylindrical  hat,  with  a  rim  round  the  top.  This 
rim  distinguishes  those  who  are  in  full  Orders  from 
the  monks  and  others  who  have  not  yet  attained  to 
the  priesthood.  All  Greek  ecclesiastics,  of  what- 
ever Order  they  may  be,  wear  their  hair  long,  this 
custom  being  taken  from  the  law  of  the  Nazarites 
(Num.  vi.  5).  It  seems  very  curious  at  first  to  a 
Western  to  see  these  men  with  great  masses  of 
hair  like  a  woman's.  Formerly,  instead  of  the 
cylindrical  hat,  a  fez  with  a  dark  blue  turban, 
similar  to  that  still  worn  by  the  Coptic  priests  in 
Egypt,  was  the  clerical  headdress.  This  latter 
was,  however,  a  badge  of  servitude  imposed  upon 
the  Christians  by  their  Mohammedan  conquerors, 
and,  with  the  waning  power  of  the  Turk,  it  has 
gone  the  way  of  other  tokens  of  social  inferiority. 
The  higher  clergy,  when  making  a  state  call  or 
when  desirous  of  showing  special  respect  to  the 
person  to  whom  a  visit  is  made,  put  over  the  hat  a 
long  black  veil,  which  flows  down  the  back  of  the 
wearer  nearly  to  the  waist. 

Infant  baptism  is  the  invariable  rule  in  the  Greek 
Church,  and  is  always  by  trine  immersion.  It  is 
followed  by  the  chrism,  both  being  administered  at 
the  same  service.  This  latter  rite  is  held  by  the 
Oriental  Churches  to  be  the  equivalent  of  the 
confirmation  of  Western  Christendom.  It  is 
customary,  as  with  us,  to  have  sponsors,  and 
commonly  the  same  persons  will  stand  as  god- 
parents for  all  the  children  of  a  family.  This  is 
held  to  constitute  a  relationship,  and  to  be  within 


the  prohibited  degrees  of  the  Greek  Church,  so 
that  the  children  of  godparents  may  not  intermarry 
with  the  latter 's  godchildren. 

Some  of  the  Greek  churches  are  very  ancient 
or  on  ancient  foundations.  Externally  they  are 
as  a  rule  dreary,  uncared-for-looking  buildings,  and 
inside  they  appear  to  be  utterly  neglected,  and  are 
too  often  far  from  clean.  There  are  no  pews,  the 
congregation  standing  during  the  services,  and,  as 
these  are  very  long,  stout  sticks  with  long  cross- 
pieces  at  the  top,  like  huge  crutches,  are  provided 
for  the  people  to  lean  on  when  they  become  weary. 

A  curious  ceremony  takes  place  at  the  consecra- 
tion of  a  Greek  church.  Both  the  Patriarch  of  the 
province  and  the  Bishop  of  the  diocese  in  which 
the  church  is  situated  take  part  in  the  service. 
They  bring  with  them  a  piece  of  a  bone  of  a  saint. 
This  they  proceed  to  boil  in  olive-oil  in  the  church. 
The  Bishop,  wearing  a  white  silk  surplice,  having 
completed  the  cooking  of  the  relic  with  spices, 
takes  a  long  reed  with  a  sponge  on  the  top,  and, 
dipping  it  in  the  holy  oil,  makes  the  sign  of  the 
cross  therewith  on  the  roof,  walls,  etc.,  all  round 
the  building.  Special  prayers  follow.  These  ended, 
he  takes  off  his  silk  surplice  and  puts  on  another. 
After  more  prayers,  appropriate  to  the  occasion, 
he  proceeds  to  say  Mass.  This  ended,  he  takes  the 
rest  of  the  oil  and  the  vessel  (which  must  be  a  new 
one),  and  deposits  it  in  some  spot  where  it  will  be 
out  of  ordinary  reach,  as  it  is  sacred.  Finally  the 
Bishop  tears  his  silk  surplice  into  small  pieces, 
which  he  distributes  among  the  congregation  as  a 


blessing,  the  reason  of  this  being  that,  as  some  of 
the  holy  oil  has  fallen  on  it,  he  may  not  wear  it 

For  twelve  hundred  years  after  the  Moham- 
medan conquest  of  Palestine  the  Christian  churches 
were  not  allowed  to  have  bells,  the  Moslems 
believing  that  they  collect  the  evil  spirits.  As  a 
substitute,  bars  of  bronze,  or  some  similar  material, 
were  used.  These  bars  were  suspended  from  a 
wooden  frame,  and  when  struck  with  a  heavy 
mallet  emitted  a  deep  musical  note,  which  could 
be  heard  to  a  considerable  distance.  In  some  few 
places,  as,  for  example,  the  Armenian  monastery 
in  Jerusalem  and  the  well-known  Greek  convent 
of  Mar  Saba  in  the  Wady  en  Nar,  these  old  bronze 
gongs  may  still  be  seen.  Within  the  last  century 
Christians  have  been  allowed  the  use  of  bells,  a 
concession  which  is  looked  upon  by  some  of  the 
stricter  Moslems  as  a  sad  proof  of  the  decadence  of 
their  faith. 

Scattered  up  and  down  the  country  are  large 
monasteries  of  the  Greek  Church.  Usually  they 
are  to  be  found  in  lonely  places,  such  as  that  of 
Mar  Saba  just  mentioned,  Mar  Girius  (St.  George) 
in  the  Wady  Kelt,  the  famous  Convent  of  the 
Cross,  west  of  Jerusalem,  that  on  Mount  Tabor, 
and  many  others.  They  are  strongly  built,  and 
in  outward  appearance  more  like  fortresses  than 
religious  houses,  having  been  used  in  former  times 
by  the  Christians  as  places  of  refuge  when  danger 
threatened.  Though  the  need  for  them  as  such 
has  now  happily  passed  away,  at  any  rate  for  the 


present,  they  are  eloquent  witnesses  to  the  risks 
which  Christians  had  to  run  in  days  not  long 
gone  by. 

Of  the  Christian  festivals,  perhaps  the  most  note- 
worthy— at  any  rate  from  a  Western  point  of  view 
— is  the  ceremony  of  the  Holy  Fire  (or  Holy 
Light,  to  give  it  its  true  name),  which  takes  place 
in  Jerusalem,  in  the  Church  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre, 
on  the  Greek  Easter  Eve.  The  people  are  taught 
that  this  '  Fire '  or  'Light'  is  miraculously  produced 
each  year,  on  that  day,  in  the  Lord's  tomb,  and 
great  crowds  come  up  to  the  Holy  City  to  witness 
the  ceremony.  Candles  or  tapers  lit  from  the 
sacred  flame  convey  the  light  to  the  Christian 
villages  within  a  good  many  miles  of  Jerusalem. 
These  candles  are,  as  soon  as  lit,  rapidly  passed  to 
groups  of  men  who  are  eagerly  awaiting  them 
outside  the  Church  of  the  Sepulchre,  and  who 
immediately  hurry  off  with  the  precious  charge  to 
their  respective  villages.  It  is  esteemed  a  great 
honour  to  be  allowed  to  carry  this  light,  and  in 
some  cases  certain  families  have  the  monopoly  of 
the  privilege,  a  monopoly  which  sometimes  leads 
to  rights  between  the  bearers  of  the  Holy  Fire 
and  people  of  other  families  who  are  desirous  of 
obtaining  the  honour  for  themselves.  In  the 
villages,  as  the  time  gets  near  for  the  cavalcade  to 
appear,  people  go  out  to  some  eminence  near  to 
watch  the  road  from  Jerusalem  for  the  first  in- 
dications of  its  approach,  and  any  horseman  riding 
by  is  eagerly  questioned,  '  Is  the  Light  coining  ?' 
1  Have   you   seen   the  Light  ?'     Ere   long,  in   the 


distance,  is  descried  the  little  group  of  men  carrying 
the  precious  flame,  carefully  screened  from  the 
wind.  The  shouts  of  the  watchers  send  the  news 
to  the  village,  a  solemn  procession  is  formed,  the 
Greek  priests,  in  gorgeous  vestments,  go  forth  to 
meet  the  Light,  and  conduct  it,  accompanied  by 
clouds  of  incense,  amid  all  the  noise  and  uproar 
inseparable  from  an  Oriental  procession,  and  with 
attendant  crowds,  to  the  church,  where  a  service  is 
held  in  honour  of  its  arrival. 

At  Eastertide  the  Christians  dye  eggs  in  com- 
memoration of  the  feast.  Red  is  the  colour 
ordinarily  employed.  The  origin  and  meaning  of 
the  custom  seems  to  be  quite  unknown  to  them, 
and  the  only  reply  I  have  ever  been  able  to  elicit 
in  response  to  my  inquiries — a  reply  perfectly  satis- 
factory to  an  Eastern — is,  '  Such  is  the  custom.' 
The  dyeing  is  effected  by  wrapping  the  egg  in  silk 
of  the  desired  colour,  and  then  boiling  it,  when  the 
shell  takes  up  the  colour  from  the  material.  At 
Bethlehem  the  mother-o '-pearl  workers  dye  eggs 
of  a  brown  tint,  and  then  very  deftly  etch  some 
sacred  design  on  them,  removing  with  a  sharp- 
pointed  tool  the  thin  coloured  film,  without,  how- 
ever, cutting  through  the  eggshell.  The  children 
play  a  game  with  these  Easter  eggs.  Two  of  them 
take  an  egg  apiece,  and  each  tries  to  crush  in  the 
end  of  the  other's  egg  without  cracking  his  own, 
■and  he  who  succeeds  in  accomplishing  this  feat 
keeps  both  eggs. 

The  Mohammedans  have  adopted  this  custom 
from  the  Christians,  and  at  the  feast  of  Neby  Miisa 


(which,  as  mentioned  in  the  previous  chapter,  takes 
place  about  the  time  of  the  Greek  Easter)  dye 
eggs  of  a  bright  yellow.  At  the  New  Year,  at 
all  great  Church  festivals,  and  at  the  beginning  of 
every  month,  the  Greek  priests  go  round  to  the 
houses  of  all  their  flock  and  bless  them.  A  vessel 
of  holy  water  is  carried  by  an  attendant,  and  the 
priest  sprinkles  some  of  it  on  the  house,  at  the 
same  time  saying,  '  Save,  Lord,  Thy  people,  and 
bless  Thine  inheritance  :  grant  our  kings  victory 
over  the  barbarians,  and  preserve  by  the  power  of 
Thy  cross  all  who  trust  in  Thee.'  In  return  for  this 
ceremony  the  householder  gives  the  priest  some 
trifling  present — a  handful  of  wheat,  some  dried 
figs,  a  few  eggs,  or  anything  else  that  comes  to 

The  Greeks,  as  a  rule,  observe  the  fast  of  Lent 
very  strictly.  They  make  a  great  point  of  eating 
olive-oil  then ;  indeed,  with  the  more  ignorant  ones 
this  is  the  essential  thing :  without  its  use  Lent 
would  not  be  Lent  for  them.  Olive-oil  is  used  by 
all  in  their  cooking,  butter  and  other  animal  fats 
being  strictly  forbidden  to  them  during  that  period. 

There  are  many  other  fasts,  and  as  a  rule  they 
are  rigorously  observed,  especially  those  which 
occur  before  the  great  Church  festivals.  The  days 
on  which  the  fasts  begin  and  terminate,  together 
with  the  various  saints'  days,  are  announced  each 
week  by  the  priests  in  the  churches  on  the  previous 

Superstitions  of  all  kinds  abound  among  the 
Christians  as  well  as  among   the  Mohammedans. 


Thus,  if  a  child  be  ill,  or  long  in  walking  through 
weakness,  the  parents  will  go  round  to  the  neigh- 
bours and  beg  some  trifling  thing  from  each  house, 
as  a  fig,  a  piece  of  bread,  an  onion,  or  even  an  egg- 
shell or  other  worthless  article.  These  they  proceed 
to  bury  in  a  dung-heap,  afterwards  firing  a  gun 
over  it,  when  they  believe  that  the  disease,  or  the 
spirit  causing  it,  will  leave  the  child.  If  a  man  be 
suffering  from  sciatica,  an  old  woman,  who  must 
be  past  a  certain  age,  has  to  go  alone  out  of  the 
little  village  and  search  for  a  kind  of  shrub  known 
as  Shabrikeh,  a  low,  tough,  thorny  plant,  a  favourite 
food  of  camels.  Having  found  one,  she  must, 
without  uprooting  it,  so  pull  and  twist  it  that  the 
stem  and  roots  become  quite  flexible ;  she  must 
then  place  a  stone  on  the  plant  and  return  to  the 
village  by  a  different  way  to  that  by  which  she 
quitted  it,  and  the  patient  will  be  cured  ! 

In  a  certain  village  in  the  Jebel-el-Kuds,  if  an 
ox,  cow,  sheep,  or  goat  be  lost,  someone  takes  a 
Bible  and  reads  aloud  the  twenty-third  Psalm.  As 
he  utters  the  last  word,  another  person  shuts  up  a 
knife,  razor,  or  dagger,  which  he  has  held  open  for 
the  purpose  :  the  knife,  etc.,  must  remain  closed  till 
the  lost  animal  be  found  ;  otherwise  it  will  be  eaten 
by  wild  beasts  ! 

The  natives  of  Palestine  are  much  afraid  of  the 
evil-eye.  Blue  or  gray  eyes  are  popularly  supposed 
to  be  specially  virulent  and  powerful,  and  are  often 
thought  to  be  capable  of  seeing  into  the  ground, 
and  detecting  the  hidden  treasures  which  are 
popularly  believed  to  be  buried  in  all  ruins.     It  is 


considered  most  unlucky,  especially  by  Moslems, 
to  express  praise  or  admiration  of  a  child  or  animal, 
some  untoward  event  being,  in  their  opinion,  sure 
to  follow.  The  usual  expression  in  lieu  of  praise 
or  admiration  is  '  Mashallah '  —  literally,  '  What 
God  wills  ';  and  a  fond  father  or  mother  will  be 
as  gratified  at  this  as  English  parents  at  the 
warmest  eulogium  on  their  children. 

The  people  seek  to  counteract  or  ward  off  the 
effects  of  the  evil-eye  by  means  of  various  things 
hung  round  the  necks  of  children  and  animals,  or 
in  the  former  case  fastened  to  the  Tarbush,  as  the 
fez,  or  red  cap,  is  called.  These  charms  usually 
take  the  form  of  blue  beads,  discs  of  blue  glass 
with  white  centres,  in  the  middle  of  which  is  a 
black  dot  (the  whole  forming  a  rude  representation 
of  a  human  eye),  or  little  bits  of  the  same  coloured 
material  roughly  fashioned  to  resemble  a  hand. 
This  latter  charm  is  supposed  to  represent  '  the 
Hand  of  Might,'  or  the  protecting  power  of  God 
on  the  person.  The  colour  is  blue,  from  the  idea, 
as  mentioned  above,  that  eyes  of  that  hue  have 
special  power  to  injure  both  men  and  animals.  In 
the  case  of  new  houses,  the  skull  of  some  animal, 
with  a  few  blue  beads,  is  often  hung  over  the  door- 
way with  the  same  object. 

If  anyone  is  believed  to  have  been  injured  by 
the  evil-eye,  in  order  to  ascertain  who  the  in- 
dividual may  be  who  has  done  the  harm,  they  take 
lumps  of  alum  and  heat  them  over  the  fire,  care- 
fully watching  them  the  while.  As  the  lumps 
break   up  under   the   influence  of  the  heat,  they 



believe  that  in  one  or  other  of  them  they  will  see, 
and  be  able  to  recognise,  the  eye  of  the  person  who 
has  cast  the  evil  spell  on  them,  and  that  the  spell 
will  at  the  same  time  be  broken. 

Charms  of  all  kinds  are  extensively  used,  and 
implicitly  believed  in  by  the  people.  Most  little 
children,  but  especially  boys,  will  be  seen  with 
strings  of  them  round  their  necks — the  blue  beads 
and  eyes  already  mentioned,  rude  representations 
of  a  human  hand  in  brass,  or  blue  glass,  bits  of 
alum,  queer-shaped  pieces  of  bone,  and  other 
fantastic  objects.  Another  class  of  charms  consists 
of  passages  from  the  Koran,  some  of  the  ninety- 
nine  names  of  God,  or  even  meaningless  hiero- 
glyphics, written  on  pieces  of  paper  and  sewn  up 
in  square  or  triangular  scraps  of  leather,  which 
are  worn  about  the  person.  Both  Moslems  and 
Christians  have  the  greatest  faith  in  these  amulets, 
and  those  persons  who  are  credited  with  special 
skill  or  power  in  writing  them  can  make  con- 
siderable sums  of  money  by  this  means. 

The  written  charms  are  usually  the  work  of 
Dervishes,  Ulema,  and  the  like,  but  occasionally 
even  women  do  it.  I  know  of  one  woman  in  the 
Beni  Zeid  who  has  a  great  reputation  in  this 
respect,  people  coming  to  her  from  all  the  country 
round  to  purchase  her  charms.  Regular  treatises 
on  the  subject  also  exist  (in  manuscript),  giving 
full  directions  how  to  prepare  and  write  them.  I 
possess  a  copy  of  one  of  these  treatises,  which 
once  belonged  to  a  Christian  Fellah,  who  used, 
practically,  to  get  his  living  by  writing  amulets  for 


the  peasants,  but  who  was  shown  the  sin  of  it  and 
induced  to  abandon  the  practice. 

Augury  is  still  employed  to  some  extent,  in- 
ferences being  drawn  as  to  coming  events  from  the 
appearance  of  birds,  animals,  etc.  For  example,  if 
an  owl  alights  on  a  house  at  night,  and  hoots,  it  is 
believed  to  be  a  prophecy  of  the  speedy  death  of 
the  owner  of  the  house.  On  setting  out  on  a 
journey,  it  is  extremely  unlucky  to  see  a  raven  or 
gazelle,  but  worse  than  all  is  to  meet  a  woman 
carrying  an  empty  water-jar.  The  idea  in  the 
latter  case  is  that,  as  the  jar  has  no  water  in  it,  so 
the  day,  journey,  or  enterprise,  will  be  devoid  of 
blessing,  this  omen  being  specially  unpropitious  in 
the  early  morning.  A  native  friend  of  mine  once 
told  me  that  on  a  certain  occasion  he  started  very 
early  one  morning  from  a  village  where  he  had 
been  staying.  As  he  rode  out  of  the  place  he  met 
a  woman  with  such  a  jar  on  her  head.  As  he 
passed  her  she  said  aloud,  '  In  stiallah  mclanch ' 
(God  grant  that  it  be  full),  the  idea,  of  course, 
being  to  avert  the  omen.  On  another  occasion 
two  men,  whom  I  know,  were  riding  into  a  village, 
when  they  met  a  Moslem  woman  going  out  to  the 
spring,  and  on  her  head  her  empty  pitcher.  As 
they  came  up  to  her,  she  thrust  her  arm  as  far  as  it 
would  go  into  the  pitcher  so  that  it  might  not  be 
empty ! 

But  ill-omened  as  it  is  for  an  individual  to  meet 
a  woman  with  an  empty  water-jar,  it  is  more 
especially  unpropitious  for  a  wedding  procession  to 
do  so,  as  this  would  be  an  infallible  indication  that 



there  would  be  no  blessing  on  the  married  life  of 
the  bride  and  bridegroom.  Should  a  woman  thus 
meet  a  wedding,  she  will  turn  her  jar  mouth  down- 
wards on  the  ground  that  it  may  not  be  seen  to  be 
empty,  or  even,  in  some  cases,  she  will  break  the 
pitcher  to  pieces. 

In  some  of  the  more  remote  districts  the  people 
have  a  strong  objection  to  being  photographed. 
They  have  an  idea  that  the  picture  of  a  man  takes 
from  him  some  part  of  his  essence,  and  that  he 
consequently  becomes  weak  and  enfeebled. 

When  the  new  moon  is  seen  for  the  first  time, 
many  perform  what  is  really  an  act  of  worship,  or 
adoration,  to  it.  They  stretch  out  the  right  hand 
for  an  instant  towards  the  luminary,  and  then 
bring  it  back  to  the  mouth,  kiss  it,  and  then 
touch  the  forehead,  at  the  same  time  saying, 
*  May  God  be  honoured,  and  may  you  be 
honoured.'  This  is,  I  have  little  doubt,  a  survival 
of  the  idolatrous  sun  and  moon  worship  once  so 
common  throughout  the  East,  and  a  form  ot 
adoration  as  old  as  the  time  of  Job  (Job  xxxi. 
2G,  27).  This  gesture  is  also  employed  as  a  token 
of  respect  towards  a  superior.  Thus,  a  man  who 
wishes  to  ask  a  favour  will  with  his  right  hand 
touch  the  beard  of  the  one  whose  help  he  intreats, 
and  then  kiss  his  own  hand,  this  being  equivalent 
to  kissing  the  other's  beard,  and  seems  to  have 
been  a  mode  of  honouring  the  images  of  heathen 
gods  in  Tsraelitish  times  (1  Kings  xix.  18). 

When  a  tooth  comes  out  of  itself,  they  throw  it 
in  the  eye  of  the  sun,  saying,  '  Take  this  donkey's 


tooth,  and  give  me  a  gazelle's  instead.'  Donkeys 
are  in  the  East,  as  with  ns,  considered  very  stupid 
animals,  though  they  share  this  unenviable  dis- 
tinction with  goats.  Indeed,  if  they  wish  to  say 
that  a  man  is  very  obtuse  or  obstinate,  they 
generally  call  him  a  goat. 

There  is  a  widespread  belief  in  evil  spirits  of 
various  kinds,  jinns,  ghouls,  afrites,  et  hoc  genus 
omne,  so  familiar  to  readers  of  the  '  Thousand  and 
One  Nights.'  They  are  popularly  supposed  to 
specially  haunt  corners  of  houses,  and  an  Arabic 
proverb  says,  '  j\To  corner  but  has  its  demon.'  Caves 
also  are  often  believed  to  be  inhabited  by  them. 
In  the  country  east  of  the  Dead  Sea,  where  the 
cultivated  land  is  frequently  a  great  distance  from 
the  villages,  the  Fellahin,  at  seed-time  and  harvest, 
not  uncommonly  live  for  weeks  at  a  time  in  these 
caves  so  as  to  be  near  their  work.  Before  entering 
them  they  always  sacrifice  a  fowl  or  some  animal 
to  the  spirit  of  the  place,  in  order  to  be  on  good 
terms  with  it. 

In  certain  localities  in  the  land  of  Moab,  and 
other  places  east  of  the  Jordan,  hot  springs  occur. 
The  Fellahin  are  exceedingly  fond  of  bathing  in 
these  natural  Turkish  baths,  and  many  of  them 
before  entering  the  water  make  an  offering  of  a 
fowl,  the  idea  being,  apparently,  that  the  jinn 
who  presides  over  the  spring  and  controls  the 
subterranean  fires,  which  impart  their  warmth  to 
the  water,  will  not  heat  it  sufficiently  unless  he  be 
propitiated  by  an  offering. 

Insane  people  are  supposed  to  be  possessed  by 


these  jinns,  the  ordinary  term  for  such  unfortunate 
individuals  being  Majnun — that  is  one  who  has  a 

This  belief  in  spirits  is  very  firmly  fixed  in  the 
minds  of  the  people.  When  Kerak  was  first 
occupied  by  the  Turkish  troops,  some  twelve  years 
ago,  I  remember  an  intelligent,  well-educated 
native  telling  me,  in  all  seriousness,  that  two 
ghouls  had  been  caught  in  the  old  castle  there, 
and  been  put  in  iron  cages  to  be  brought  over  to 

The  religion  of  both  Moslems  and  Christians  is 
to  a  very  large  extent  purely  external.  The  former 
divide  actions  into  Heidi  (lawful)  and  Haram 
(unlawful),  and  so  long  as  a  man  abstains  from  the 
latter  he  is  profoundly  satisfied  with  himself. 
More  than  this,  what  may  be  called  '  ritual  actions  ' 
are  often  counted  of  greater  importance  than  the 
keeping  of  the  moral  law.  Thus,  it  is  considered 
an  'unlawful'  (i.e.,  sinful)  act  to  tread  on  crumbs 
of  bread,  and  I  have  seen  a  Moslem  dealer,  whose 
every  other  sentence  would  be  an  oath,  and  who 
would  never  miss  a  chance  of  cheating  a  customer, 
most  scrupulously  pick  up  from  the  floor  of  a 
railway-carriage  a  few  minute  fragments  of  bread 
which  a  European  traveller  had  dropped,  lest  he 
should  inadvertently  step  on  them. 

Asceticism,  also,  in  the  matter  of  food,  outweighs 
many  a  sin.  I  know  a  case  of  a  man  who  is 
notorious  among  his  fellow- Moslems  for  breaking 
nearly  all  the  moral  precepts  of  the  Koran,  \vho 
yet  is  held  in  high  honour  as  a  saint.     His  claim 


to  a  reputation  for  sanctity  rests  on  the  fact  that 
for  years  he  is  said  never  to  have  drunk  any  liquid 
whatever,  obtaining  the  moisture  necessary  to 
maintain  his  body  in  health  by  eating  water- 

In  many  cases  both  Christians  and  Moslems  are 
intensely  ignorant  of  their  own  faith.  A  Greek 
Christian,  who  came  from  a  large  village  where 
there  was  but  a  handful  of  Christians  among  a  con- 
siderable Moslem  population,  and  where  there  was 
no  resident  priest,  once  said  to  me :  '  We  are  very 
ignorant ;  the  only  difference  between  our  women 
and  those  of  the  Moslems  is  that  the  latter  swear 
by  the  Prophet,  and  ours  by  the  Virgin.' 

One  result  of  European  missions  in  Palestine 
has  been  to  stir  up  to  some  extent  the  native 
Churches  to  care  for  the  education  and  instruction 
of  their  own  people,  yet  the  present  condition  of 
their  flocks  in  this  matter  still  leaves  much  to  be 

Prayer,  as  taught  in  the  Bible,  is  but  little 
known  by  Mohammedans  and  the  more  ignorant 
Christians.  In  the  case  of  the  former  it  would  be 
within  the  mark  to  say  that  in  the  great  majority 
of  instances  the  externals  of  prayer  are  the  all- 
important  thing.  The  doctrine  of  fate,  mentioned 
above,  must  if  followed  to  its  logical  conclusion 
render  all  real  prayer  nugatory. 

The  majority  of  Moslems  are  very  strict  about 
their  devotions,  carefully  observing  the  hours  of 
prayer.  Wherever  they  may  be  at  such  times,  in 
shop   or  vineyard,   building-yard  or   cornfield,  on 


board  ship  or  riding  across  the  country,  they  stop 
their  work,  take  off  their  shoes,  spread  their  outer 
cloaks  as  prayer-mats  on  the  ground,  and  then 
repeat  the  prescribed  formulas  and  go  through 
the  ordained  prostrations.  Before  prayer,  the  face, 
feet,  hands  and  arms  (as  far  as  the  elbows),  must  be 
washed  with  water,  or,  failing  that,  cleansed  with 
sand.  Without  this  preliminary  purification  they 
hold  that  God  would  not  hear. 

The  sight  of  a  large  number  of  Moslems  at 
prayer,  led  by  their  Imam,  standing  in  long  silent 
rows,  prostrating  themselvres  on  the  ground  simul- 
taneously, or  bowing  in  unison  with  the  precision 
of  a  regiment  of  soldiers  at  drill,  is  a  very  im- 
pressive scene  ;  but  prayer,  in  the  Christian  sense 
of  the  word,  it  emphatically  is  not.  The  repetition 
of  the  KaUmah,  or  Moslem  formula  of  faith,  '  There 
is  no  God  but  God,  and  Mohammed  is  the  Apostle 
of  God,'  the  recitation  of  the  first  chapter  of  the 
Koran,  and  certain  other  formulae,  constitute  the 
sum  total,  in  a  Moslem's  mind,  of  the  worship 
required  of  him. 

It  must  be  confessed  that  the  more  ignorant 
members  of  the  Oriental  Churches  are  almost 
equally  in  the  dark  as  to  what  true  prayer  is.  A 
few  on  rising  in  the  morning  say,  '  O  Gate  of 
God,  O  Opener  (of  the  day),  O  Wise  One, 
O  Provider,  O  Generous  One  !'  but  beyond  this  I 
fear  it  must  be  said  that  individual,  personal, 
private  prayer  is  unknown  to  many. 



The  villages  of  Palestine  are  for  the  most  part — 
at  least,  in  the  hill  country — on  or  near  the  ancient 
sites ;  and  some  not  only  occupy  the  same  spots, 
but  also  bear  practically  the  same  names,  they  did 
thousands  of  years  ago,  at  the  dawn  of  history. 
The  sites  of  these  ancient  towns  and  villages  were 
largely  determined  by  physical  conditions,  such  as 
a  position  easily  defended  or  the  proximity  of  an 
abundant  water-supply.  In  the  hill  country  the 
former  reason  seems  to  have  been  the  one  which 
was  chiefly  taken  into  account,  and  consequently 
most  of  the  present  villages  and  hamlets  are  on 
the  summits  of  rocky  knolls  or  outlying  spurs, 
sometimes  in  most  commanding  situations,  with 
magnificent  views  over  wide  stretches  of  country. 
Those  in  valleys  are  almost  invariably  close  to  a 
copious  spring  of  water. 

The  villages  in  the  hills  are  much  more  sub- 
stantially built  than  those  in  the  plains ;  stone  of 
good  quality,  and  easily  worked,  abounds,  and 
where  a  hamlet  occupies  an  ancient  site,  old 
materials  are  often  worked  up  again,  and  in  such 



places  one  frequently  sees  finely-dressed  blocks, 
fragments  of  pillars,  capitals  of  columns,  etc.,  built 
into  the  walls  of  newly- erected  houses.  Some  of 
these  stones  may  have  come  down  from  the  earliest 
times,  and  have  been  used  by  Canaanitish,  Jewish, 
Greek,  Roman,  and  Syrian  masons  in  succession. 

Not  infrequently  the  summit  of  the  knoll  is 
occupied  by  the  remains  of  an  old  town  or  castle, 
the  village  being  built  round  it,  the  gray  houses 
sometimes  clinging,  as  it  were,  to  the  rock,  and  at 
a  distance  so  like  it  that  often  it  is  difficult  to  tell 
which  is  rock  and  which  is  ruin  or  dwelling.  The 
houses  are,  as  a  rule,  built  closely  together,  narrow 
courtyards  or  winding  alleys  alone  separating  them 
from  each  other.  This  is  often  due  to  the  con- 
tracted site  or  steep  slope  of  the  ground,  but 
sometimes  to  the  need  of  protection,  the  smaller 
the  circuit  of  the  village  the  easier  beino;  its 
defence,  and  some  of  these  villages  before  the 
invention  of  artillery  must  have  been  almost 

The  villages  in  the  plains  are  not  uncommonly 
situated  on  a  slight  elevation,  but,  as  building  stone 
is  not  to  be  had  within  reasonable  distance,  the  red 
earth  of  the  plains  is  made  sometimes  to  do  duty 
in  its  stead.  Some  of  these  villages  are  very 
picturesque,  especially  in  the  spring-time,  with 
the  low  red-walled  houses,  their  flat  earthen  roofs 
covered  with  a  rich  crop  of  grass,  hedges  of  prickly- 
pear  surrounding  the  place,  a  few  tall  date-palms 
growing  amongst  the  houses,  and  a  pool  of  water, 
left   by  the   winter   rains,   filling   what   otherwise 


would  be  an  unsightly  pit,  produced  by  digging 
clay  for  making  the  houses  or  covering  the  roofs. 

In  building  a  house,  local  conditions  will  very 
much  influence  the  style  and  nature  of  the  con- 
struction, and  materials  used.  In  the  mountains 
timber  is  very  scarce  and  stone  abundant.  This 
has  led  to  the  adoption  of  domed  stone  roofs,  and 
the  heavy  nature  of  these  roofs  has  obliged  the 
building  of  very  substantial  walls  in  order  to  with- 
stand their  thrust,  a  thickness  of  3  feet  being  quite 
common,  and  in  many  cases  more  is  needed.  The 
houses  for  the  most  part  consist  of  but  a  single 
room.  The  interior  is  usually  in  two  parts — a 
raised  portion,  called  a  Mustabeh,  occupying  some 
three-quarters  of  the  space,  and  a  lower  part  near 
the  door.  On  the  Mustabeh  the  family  live,  and 
underneath  it  a  horse,  one  or  more  donkeys,  a  cow, 
or  goats,  will  be  stabled  at  night.  Farm  imple- 
ments, firewood,  charcoal,  etc.,  with  fowls,  will  also 
find  accommodation  there.  On  the  raised  part, 
too,  will  be  the  bins  where  the  corn,  dried  figs, 
lentils,  and  such-like  stores,  are  kept.  In  an 
arched  recess  in  the  thickness  of  the  wall  the 
bedding  will  be  piled  away  during  the  day.  Holes 
made  by  leaving  out  a  stone  here  and  there  occur 
in  the  inner  courses  of  the  walls,  and  these  contain 
various  articles  of  household  use,  while  between 
the  stones  pegs  are  driven,  on  which  are  hung 
baskets,  straw  trays,  gourds,  etc. 

In  some  cases  a  small  window  or  opening  is 
made  high  up  in  the  wall,  but  very  often  there  is 
no  aperture  other  than  the  door,  the  reason  of  this 



having  been  the  insecure  state  of  the  country  in 
years  gone  by,  windows  being  considered  to  give 
too  great  an  opportunity  to  an  enemy.  And  even 
now,  though  matters  are  in  this  way  much  improved, 
and  life  is  more  secure  in  most  places,  yet  still  this 
idea  is  to  some  extent  justified.  Not  so  very  long 
ago  a  man,  one  night,  climbed  up  to  the  window 
of  a  house  in  Bethlehem  and  shot  his  enemy,  the 
owner,  dead  as  he  lay  asleep  in  bed. 





The  above  plan  is  that  of  a  typical  native  house 
in  the  hill  country,  west  of  the  Jordan.  A,  B,  C, 
is  the  Mustabeh,  or  raised  part,  where  the  family 
lives ;  D,  E,  F,  G,  H,  a  row  of  cornbins ;  I,  a  sort 
of  hearth,  with  sometimes,  but  by  no  means  always, 
a  rude  chimney  in  the  thickness  of  the  wall ;  K,  the 


recess  for  the  bedding  ;  L,  the  steps,  if  any  ;  M,  the 

Such  is  the  ordinary  type  of  house  in  which  the 
average  class  of  peasants  dwell.  The  well-to-do 
will  have  more  than  one  room,  though  all  the 
rooms  on  the  ground-floor  will  be  of  similar  type, 
while  the  poorest  class  will  live  in  mere  hovels, 
built  very  roughly,  sometimes  without  mortar,  the 
whole  floor  being  on  a  level  with  the  ground.  In 
more  recently  built  houses,  especially  where  the 
owner  is  well  off,  the  style  will  be  more  like  that 
of  the  towns,  with  no  Mustabeh,  and  with  fair-sized 
windows  with  glass  in  them,  and  perhaps  outside 
wooden  shutters. 

An  Ally eli,  or  upper  room,  as  the  word  means, 
is  not  unfrequently  built  on  the  top,  especially  for 
sleeping  in  during  the  summer,  being  cooler  than 
the  house  below.  Sometimes  the  guest-room  of 
a  village  will  be  an  Aliyeh.  The  little  chamber 
(2  Kings  iv.  10)  made  by  the  Shunamite  for  Elisha 
was  an  Aliyeh ;  and  as  such  rooms  are  generally 
reached,  not  through  the  house,  but  by  an  outside 
staircase  from  the  street,  he  would  be  able  to  come 
and  go  without  in  any  way  intruding  on,  or  inter- 
fering with,  the  family.  Occasionally  these  'summer 
rooms '  (Judg.  iii.  20)  will  have  only  four  walls, 
the  roof  being  formed  of  a  vine  trained  over  it  for 
the  purpose,  or  a  shelter  of  boughs  of  trees — such 
places,  of  course,  being  only  used  in  summer. 

The  building  of  these  houses,  especially  where 
they  are  to  be  more  than  usually  substantial,  or 
where    the   owner   is   poor,   is   often   spread   over 


several  years.  When  a  man  has  decided  to  build, 
he  begins  by  collecting  stone  for  the  purpose.  The 
rock  of  Palestine  is  mostly  limestone,  of  which 
there  are  several  kinds  suitable  for  building.  The 
best  is  a  very  hard  kind,  which  is  sometimes  of  a 
reddish  colour,  but  more  commonly  a  cream  tint, 
and  is  capable  of  taking  a  fine  polish  ;  it  is  generally 
known  as  Mizzeh.  There  are  two  sorts  of  it — 
Mizzek  yahudch,  the  hardest  stone  of  the  country, 
and  Mizzeh  helu,  a  softer  variety.  Next  comes 
Kakuleh,  a  fine  white  freestone  which  cuts  readily, 
and  yet  is  hard  and  strong,  and  is  much  used  for 
angles,  cornices,  mullions,  etc.,  wherever,  in  fact,  the 
stone  has  to  be  accurately  dressed  or  carved ;  then 
MaHkeh,  a  softer  freestone  not  so  durable ;  and 
lastly  N&rek,  a  very  light,  soft,  chalky  material, 
used  only  for  the  domed  roofs. 

Having  collected  stone,  the  foundations  are 
dug,  and  in  the  hill  districts  are  almost  invariably 
carried  down  to  the  rock,  which  is  rarely  at  any 
great  depth  below  the  surface.  In  the  plains,  on 
the  other  hand,  it  is  sometimes  impossible  to  get 
down  to  rock.  The  mortar  consists  of  earth  and 
lime,  the  Palestine  builders  not  considering  it  neces- 
sary to  use  sand  ;  the  earth  dug  out  of  the  founda- 
tions, supplemented  by  soil  from  the  adjoining 
fields,  being  deemed  sufficient.  As  the  shape  of 
the  stones  is  irregular,  much  more  mortar,  in 
proportion,  is  required  than  in  Europe,  and,  owing 
to  the  scarcity  of  water  in  mostj  places,  this  forms 
one  of  the  most  serious  items  in  the  cost  of  build- 
ing a  house. 


In  making  the  walls,  a  row  of  stones  of  uniform 
thickness  on  the  outer  face  is  carefully  laid  on  the 
foundation  by  a  master-mason,  forming  the  outer 
surface  of  the  wall,  a  similar  row  being  laid  to 
form  the  inner  one.  But  as,  except  on  the  face, 
the  stones  are  very  uneven,  an  irregular  space  is 
left  down  the  middle  for  the  whole  length  of  the 
wall,  and  this,  as  soon  as  the  two  outer  rows  are 
laid,  is  filled  up  by  another  workman  with  mortar, 
and  small  rough  stones,  known  as  Dcbsh,  gathered 
from  the  land :  thus  the  course,  or  Midmak,  is 
made  level  for  the  next  one. 

The   roofs  in  many  parts  are,  as  already  men- 
tioned, of  stone,  and  dome-shaped.     These  domes 
are  cleverly  made,  some  builders,  particularly  those 
of  Bethlehem,  being  noted  for  their  skill  in  this 
department  of  their  trade.      To  form  these  roofs, 
the  walls  of  the  room  are  not  finished  off  at  the 
same  level  all  along,  but,  on  the  contrary,  each 
wall  ends  in  a  more  or  less  pointed  arch.     Then, 
if  the  room  be  a  small  one,  the  interior  is  filled  up 
with  a  domed-shaped  mass  of  earth  on  which  the 
roof  is  shaped,  the  earth  being  afterwards  removed. 
Where  the  space  is  too  large  for  this  method  to 
be  adopted,  a  number  of  stout  poles  are  procured 
and  fixed  upright  in  the  room,  and  an  elaborate 
framework  of  sticks  of  the  shape  of  the  intended 
roof  is  made  on  these  poles  or  pillars,  the  frame- 
work being  covered  with  grass,  and  this  again  with 
mud,  thus  forming  what  may  be  called  a  mould 
of  the  inner  surface  of  the  dome.     As  soon  as  this 
is  dry  the  building  of  the  roof  takes  place.     Pieces 


of  the  Nareh,  or  similar  light  stone,  roughly  wedge- 
shaped,  are  used,  and  when  the  whole  dome  is 
completed  it  is  left  for  a  few  days  to  settle,  the 
supports  being  afterwards  removed,  when  it  is 
found  to  be  perfectly  firm  and  solid. 

It  is  a  common  custom,  when  anyone  is  thus 
roofing  a  house,  for  all  the  neighbours   to  come 
and  lend  a  helping  hand,  carrying  up  the  stone, 
mortar,  etc.,  to  the  masons  engaged  on  the  work, 
so  that  even  a  large  dome  will  be  completed  in 
the    course    of    a   few   hours,    it    being    a    great 
advantage  to  have  the  whole  done  in  as  short  a 
time  as  possible.      Those  who  thus  help  do   not 
receive  payment,  but  the  owner  of  the  house  makes 
a  feast  for  them  in  the  evening.     These  occasions 
are  greatly  enjoyed  by  the  women  and  children, 
who  shout  and  sing  and  clap  their  hands,  so  that 
all  the  village  knows  when  a  house  is  being  roofed. 
After   this  is  finished,  the  roof  is  completed  by 
carrying   up   the  walls  for   two   or   three  courses 
above    the    spring    of    the   dome,    filling   up   the 
corners  with  masonry,  and  covering  the  roof  with 
earth ;    or   instead    of   earth  a  kind   of  rubble   is 
sometimes  used,  consisting  of  a  sort  of  fine  gravel 
mixed  with   lime,  and  where  well  done  it  forms 
a  very  hard  and  water-tight  roof.      Where  only 
earth  is  used,  it  is  laid  on  to  a  considerable  depth, 
and  trodden  or  rolled  hard,  and  if  properly  done 
is  wonderfully  water-tight.     It  must,  however,  be 
well  rolled  each  year  in  the  autumn,  before  the 
rains,  as  a  rank  crop  of  grass  often  grows  there 
in  the  spring,  on  which  goats  may  sometimes  be 

ROOFS  65 

seen  grazing,  and  the  roots  of  which  loosen  the 
earth,  thus  rendering  it  pervious  to  the  rain 
unless  it  be  well  rolled. 

In  some  districts  a  kind  of  white  clay,  called 
Hoivwar,  is  found,  which  makes  an  excellent 
covering.  It  is  mixed  with  water  and  crushed 
straw,  being  laid  on  pretty  thickly,  and  as  it  dries 
it  is  well  rolled.  It  is,  when  carefully  done,  very 
effective  and  very  durable.  Roofs  are  also  covered 
with  large  flat  paving  -  stones  laid  in  cement. 
When  well  laid,  this  forms  the  best  protection 
from  rain  and  snow,  but  it  requires  constant 
watching,  as,  in  the  hills,  frost  and  snow  in  the 
winter  destroy  the  cement  between  the  joints, 
and  as  a  result  there  is  much  leakage. 

East  of  the  Jordan,  owing  to  the  greater  amount 
of  suitable  timber,  the  houses  are  not  so  sub- 
stantially built,  as  the  roofs  are  flat,  and  con- 
sequently the  pressure  is  vertical.  In  the  case  of 
a  small  house,  one  or  more  stout  beams  called 
Homarah  (lit.,  a  '  she-donkey ')  run  from  end  to 
end,  the  longer  way  of  the  room.  Across  these 
a  number  of  much  lighter  rafters  are  laid ;  on 
these,  again,  are  reeds,  secured  side  by  side  as 
closely  as  they  will  go,  and  on  the  reeds  a 
quantity  of  the  Netsh  bush  already  mentioned  ; 
while  over  all,  earth,  to  the  depth  of  a  foot  or 
eighteen  inches,  is  piled  and  rolled  hard.  These 
roofs  do  not  as  a  rule  last  long,  unless  fires  are 
lit  fairly  often  in  the  room  ;  for  a  kind  of  small 
weevil  takes  up  its  abode  in  the  reeds  and  rafters, 
boring  innumerable  small  holes  in  them,  and  soon 



destroying  the  roof.  One  soon  sees  if  they  are 
at  work,  as,  when  this  is  the  case,  a  light  powder, 
like  very  fine  sawdust,  falls  on  everything ;  while 
at  night,  when  all  is  quiet,  the  sound  of  the  jaws 
of  the  tiny  insects  busy  at  work  can  be  distinctly 
heard.  If,  however,  fires  are  lit  in  the  room,  the 
smoke  keeps  the  weevils  away,  and  where  this  is 
done  the  roof  lasts  a  long  time. 

The  plan  of  the  larger  houses  in  Moab  and 
other  parts  of  Eastern  Palestine  differs  consequently 
somewhat  from  that  already  given.  In  the  above 
plan  of  a  house  I  have  more  than  once  stayed  in, 
east  of  the  Jordan,  A,  B,  is  an  open  space  in  the 
middle  of  the  house ;  C,  a  hearth ;  D,  D,  etc.,  are 
arches  of  stone  on  which  the  roof  rests,  the  space 
being  too  great  to  allow  of  single  beams  being 
used  ;   E  is  the  main  door,  with  a  courtyard ;  F, 


a  smaller  door ;  G,  G,  etc.,  are  the  spaces  between 
the  arches.  The  floors  of  these  spaces  are  usually 
raised  two  or  three  feet  above  the  rest  of  the 
room,  and  on  them  the  family  live,  or  else  they 
are  occupied  with  sacks  of  corn,  sometimes  piled 
up  to  the  roof,  or  on  them  are  stored  agricultural 
implements,  household  utensils,  and  the  general 
possessions  of  the  owners. 

The  doors  are  as  a  rule  strong,  and  roughly 
made ;  the  hinges  are  generally  formed  by  projec- 
tions at  top  and  bottom,  from  the  plank  which 
forms  the  inner  edge  of  the  door,  these  projections 
working  in  two  holes,  one  in  the  upper  and  the 

<\     : ^^3 



other  in  the  lower  lintel.  Rough  iron  locks  are 
a  good  deal  used,  but  the  old  form  of  wooden 
lock,  which  has  been  in  vogue  for  thousands  of 
years,  is  still  by  no  means  uncommon.  The 
principle  of  these  locks  is  decidedly  ingenious. 
The  end  of  the  wooden  bolt  (B)  furthest  from 
the  wall  has  a  deep  groove  (G)  in  it  for  about 
a  third  of  its  length ;  above  this  groove  are  several 
holes  in  a  regular  pattern  (H).  In  the  block 
through  which  this  bolt  runs  are  a  number  of 
iron  pins,  corresponding  in  numbei^and  pattern 
with  the  holes  in  the  bolt,  and  so  arranged  that 
when  the  bolt  is  pushed  home  the  pins  drop  into 
the  holes  and  prevent  its  return. 



The  key  with  which  it  is  opened  consists  of  a 
piece  of  wood  which  will  go  easily  into  the  groove, 
and  having  on  its  upper  surface  a  number  of  small 
pegs  exactly  corresponding  in  number  and  pattern 
with  the  holes  in  the  bolt,  the  length  of  the  pegs 
being  precisely  the  same  as  the  thickness  of  that 
part  of  the  bolt  in  which  are  the  holes.  Thus, 
when  the  key  is  fitted  into  the  bolt  and  pushed 
up,  the  pegs  lift  the  pins  clear  of  the  bolt,  which 
can  then  be  drawn  back  and  the  door  opened.  It 
will  be  seen  that  no  key  is  needed  to  shoot  the 
bolt,  and  this  will  explain  how  Ehud,  after  killing 
Eglon,  was  able  to  lock  the  door  where  the  dead 
King  lay  (Judg.  iii.  23),  and  thus  gain  time  to 
escape,  for,  of  course,  no  one  can  draw  back  the 
bolt  without  the  proper  key.  The  lock  is  ordinarily 
placed  on  the  outside  of  the  door,  but  sometimes 
on  the  inside,  and  where  this  is  done  a  hole  is  cut 
in  the  door  to  admit  the  hand  and  key,  a  custom 
referred  to  in  Cant.  v.  4. 

House-tops  play  a  very  important  part  in  village 
life  in  Palestine.  In  the  hilly  districts  the  one- 
storied  rooms  are  often  built  back  to  the  side  of 
the  knoll,  or  hill,  on  which  the  village  stands ;  or 
where  it  is  in  a  valley,  a  perpendicular  rock  surface 
will  occasionally  be  utilized  as  one  of  the  walls, 
and  the  roof  will  thus  be  on  a  level  with  the  street 
above.  Where  such  a  village  is  dependent  on  the 
rain  for  its  water-supply,  the  roof  will  be  made 
flush  with  the  roadway,  in  order  to  get  a  greater 
area  from  which  to  collect  the  water  for  the  cistern 
below.     When  this  is  done,  it  is  often  impossible 


to  tell  from  above  where  the  street  ends  and  the 
roof  begins.  Once  when  starting  from  Madeba, 
in  the  Belka,  in  the  small  hours  of  a  dark  winter's 
night,  I  twice  found  myself  and  my  horse  on  the 
roof  of  a  house  instead  of  in  the  street.  In  other 
cases  the  roadway  has  gradually  risen  to  the  level 
of  the  roofs.  This  is  caused  by  the  habit  the 
Fellahin  have  of  throwing  the  ashes  from  their 
ovens  and  the  sweepings  from  their  floors  into 
the  little  narrow  lanes  of  the  village.  In  the  lapse 
of  centuries  this  rubbish  has  slowly  accumulated 
to  such  an  extent  that  the  surface  of  the  court- 
yards, once  level  with  the  street,  is  now  several 
feet  below  it,  and  the  latter  has  so  risen  that 
it  is  almost,  if  not  quite,  on  a  level  with  the 

The  roofs,  although  really  domed,  as  already 
described,  are  not  unfrequently  afterwards  levelled 
up  so  as  to  make  them  quite  flat,  or  sloping 
slightly  to  one  corner  to  throw  off  the  rain  more 
easily.  They  are  put  to  an  infinite  variety  of 
uses ;  thus,  in  a  village  built  on  the  side  of  a 
particularly  steep  valley,  where  it  was  almost 
impossible  to  find  a  flat  space,  I  have  seen  a 
house-top  used  as  a  threshing-floor.  Where  the 
house  is  not  built  against  the  hillside,  faggots  of 
brushwood,  used  by  the  women  for  firewood,  are 
often  piled  up  on  the  roof  for  safety.  During 
the  sesame  harvest  the  green  stalks,  with  their 
long,  narrow  seed-pods,  are  stacked  there  to  dry. 
Olives  are  spread  out  to  mature  before  being- 
crushed,  and   the   housewife  will  keep   her   spare 


jars  there.  During  the  dry  season  I  have  seen 
goats  and  sheep  folded  there  at  night,  and  in 
the  hot,  sultry  nights  of  summer  the  whole  family 
will  frequently  sleep  on  the  house-top. 

The  good-wife  builds  her  eornbins,  moulds  her 
huge  water-jars,  dries  her  BurgJud,  and  does  various 
other  household  tasks,  there.  After  sunset  in  the 
summer  evenings,  the  men  will  often  bring  their 
long  pipes  and  smoke  here,  discussing  the  day's 
news  or  work,  and  enjoying  the  cool  breeze. 
Should  a  quarrel  be  going  on,  or  a  fight,  or  an 
attack  on  the  village  be  imminent,  all  the  villagers 
will  be  upon  the  roofs  (see  Isa.  xxii.  1),  which 
command  a  much  better  prospect  of  what  is  going 
on  than  can  be  obtained  in  the  narrow,  crooked 
lanes ;  and  I  have  known  of  more  than  one 
treacherous  murder,  and  attempted  murder,  where 
the  murderer  has,  from  the  house-top,  thrown  a 
heavy  stone  on  the  skull  of  his  unsuspecting  victim 
passing  below.  When  an  announcement  which 
concerns  the  village  generally  has  to  be  made,  one 
of  the  elders  mounts  to  an  elevated  roof,  and,  in 
tones  which  can  be  heard  all  over  the  place,  tells 
his  news  or  issues  his  orders  (St.  Matt.  x.  27).* 

In  the  case  which  has  been  already  mentioned, 

*  The  following  is  the  formula  with  which  the  announce- 
ment is  made :  '  0  thou  that  hearest  the  voice  pray  in  the 
name  of  Mohammed , — (or  '  of  Christ,1  if  it  be  a  Christian 
village).  If  there  are  both  Christians  and  Moslems,  the  crier 
says  :  '  Let  the  Moslem  pray  in  the  name  of  his  Prophet,  and 
the  Nazarene  in  the  name  of  his  Friend,  the  matter  is  such 
and  such.'' 



,.,,,/.    ,11 


of  a  number  of  rooms  built  on  to  each  other  for 
a  family  of  sons,  the  roofs  will  join,  though  some- 
times at  different  levels.  In  some  cases  these 
roofs  are  reached  from  the  streets  by  an  outside 
staircase — a  circumstance  which  explains  several 
points  in  the  New  Testament.  Thus,  for  example, 
when  (St.  Matt.  xxiv.  17)  the  man  on  the  house- 
top is  warned  not  to  go  down  into  his  house  to 
fetch  anything,  the  thought  clearly  is,  that  he  is 
to  escape  instantly,  so  close  at  hand  is  the  danger, 
descending  into  the  street  at  once,  and  not  going 
round  into  his  house :  otherwise  this  trifling  delay 
would  cost  him  his  life. 

Again,  in  the  healing  of  the  palsied  man,  the 
Saviour  was,  I  hold  it,  in  the  courtyard  of  a  house, 
standing,  very  likely,  in  the  doorway  of  one  of  the 
rooms  opening  into  it,  this  courtyard  being  so  full 
that  the  four  men  found  it  impossible  to  get  their 
sick  friend  near  Him.  Mounting  by  the  staircase 
from  the  street  to  such  a  roof  as  has  been  described 
above,  they  easily  reached  the  spot  above  that 
where  Jesus  was  standing.  Here  a  further  diffi- 
culty met  them :  the  house,  in  accordance  with 
the  Mosaic  law  (Deut.  xxii.  8),  had  a  parapet 
round  the  roof,  unlike  many  of  the  houses  of  the 
Fellahin  to-day,  and  it  was  impossible  to  lift  him 
safely  over  it,  and  let  him  down  into  the  courtyard 
below.  This  parapet  was,  however,  not  of  a  very 
substantial  nature ;  like  many  such  in  Palestine 
to-day,  it  was  composed  of  tiles  (St.  Luke  v.  19). 
These  tiles  are,  in  shape  and  size,  somewhat  like 
those  used  in  England  for  draining  fields,  except 


that  they  are  much  thinner.  They  are  laid,  with 
mortar,  lengthwise,  one  above  another  (the  thick- 
ness of  the  parapet  being  the  length  of  the  tile), 
a  light,  strong  wall  being  thus  produced,  which 
allows  the  breeze  to  pass  freely,  and  permits  those 
on  the  roof  to  see  something  of  what  is  going  on 
around,  without  being  themselves  visible.  This 
parapet  being  gone,  it  was  easy  enough  for  the 
four  men  to  lower  the  mattress  on  which  the 
palsied  man  lay,  down  to  the  spot  where  the 
Lord  stood. 

Cisterns  are  much  used  for  storing  rain-water 
collected  from  the  roofs,  courtyards,  and  streets 
of  the  village.  They  are  made  in  the  ground  and, 
in  districts  where  the  supply  of  water  is  obtained 
entirely  from  them,  it  is  common  for  anyone  who 
wishes  to  build  a  house  to  make  a  cistern  the 
previous  year,  both  in  order  that  he  may  have 
water  for  building,  and  also  because  the  water 
gathered  the  first  year  in  it  is  not  considered 

Many  villages  have  no  other  water-supply  than 
these  underground  cisterns,  and  old  sites  are  often 
honeycombed  with  them.  Sometimes  a  hole  has 
to  be  dug  on  purpose,  but  not  unfrequently  one 
caused  by  getting  stone  is  utilized  for  the  purpose. 
Round  the  interior  of  the  hole  a  strong  wall  is 
built,  and,  resting  on  it,  a  domed  or  barrel-shaped 
roof,  similar  to  those  of  the  houses,  a  square  open- 
ing being  left  through  which  to  draw  water,  and 
sufficiently  large  to  allow  a  man  to  pass  through 
when  the  well  needs  to  be   cleaned.      The  floor 


A   SHOP   IN    UOAB. 

page  7_. 


slopes  slightly  towards  a  spot  immediately  below 
the  mouth  of  the  cistern.  The  whole  of  the  inside 
is  then  thickly  plastered  with  lime  and  earth,  and, 
when  nearly  dry,  a  coating  composed  of  lime, 
ground  pottery,  and  sand,  is  given  to  the  plaster. 
In  process  of  time  this  becomes  intensely  hard  and 
perfectly  water-tight.  These  cisterns  should,  even 
in  the  most  favourable  circumstances,  be  cleaned 
out  every  few  years,  as  a  considerable  amount  of 
dust  is  carried  down  into  them  from  even  the  best- 
kept  roofs. 

The  natives  almost  always  use  buckets  in  the 
villages  with  which  to  draw  the  water,  and  these 
are  infinitely  preferable  to  pumps,  as  each  time  the 
bucket  descends  it  carries  with  it  a  certain  quantity 
of  air,  which  helps  to  keep  the  water  sweet  and 
prevents  its  becoming  stagnant,  whereas  a  pump 
has  no  such  good  effects. 

In  years  of  abnormally  short  rainfall  in  these 
villages,  which  depend  entirely  on  rain-fed  cisterns 
for  their  water-supply,  when  these  are  nearly 
exhausted,  there  is  a  good  deal  of  stealing  of 
water  in  the  dark ;  and  in  order  to  prevent  this, 
I  have  known  people  to  spread  their  mattresses  at 
night  on  the  mouth  of  the  well,  as  it  is  called,  and 
to  sleep  there. 

The  village  shop,  as  in  more  civilized  lands, 
plays  an  important  part  in  village  life.  In  all 
but  the  smallest  hamlets,  one  or  two  of  these 
shops  are  to  be  found,  while  in  the  larger  places, 
especially  those  that  are  centres  of  trade,  there 
will   be   many  of  them.      Here   may   be   bought 


articles  of  clothing  of  native  manufacture,  calicoes 
from  Europe,  red  shoes,  striped  kerchiefs  for 
turbans,  coloured  cottons  and  silks  for  embroider- 
ing their  gala  dresses,  heavy  cloaks,  and  sheepskin 
coats.  The  housewife  will  find  rice,  coffee,  sugar, 
tobacco,  soap,  petroleum,  matches,  etc.  In  the 
larger  villages,  besides  these  things,  one  can  buy 
native  hardware,  felt  for  saddle-cloths,  nosebags 
and  hobbles  for  horses,  certain  drugs,  powder  and 
shot,  flint  and  steel,  and  a  variety  of  miscellaneous 
goods.  In  the  better  shops  the  articles  in  which 
the  owners  deal  will  be  kept  in  rough  shelves, 
made  of  the  wooden  cases  in  which  the  tins  of 
petroleum  are  imported  from  Russia.  These  boxes, 
about  18  inches  long,  15  deep,  and  9  wide,  are 
laid  on  their  sides  in  rows  one  on  the  top  of 
another,  and  form  convenient  receptacles  for  the 
various  commodities,  which  are  generally  laid,  just 
as  they  are,  in  these  shelves ;  any  perishable  articles 
they  keep  in  wooden  boxes  from  Damascus. 

The  shops  themselves  are  small  rooms,  a  few 
feet  square,  without  a  window,  and  opening  on  to 
the  street.  In  the  less-important  places,  any  odd 
corner,  the  space  under  an  archway  leading  on  to 
the  roof,  or  any  hole  that  can  be  made  sufficiently 
secure  against  thieves,  will  serve  the  purpose.  The 
shopkeeper  often  lives  in  his  shop,  and  I  have  on 
more  than  one  occasion  been  glad  to  avail  myself 
of  such  a  shelter.  Much  of  the  buying  and  selling 
is  done  by  barter,  money  being  a  very  scarce 
commodity.  As  one  sits  chatting  with  the  shop- 
keeper, a  young  man  comes  in  for  some  tobacco, 


and  tenders  a  couple  of  eggs  in  payment ;  these 
are  accepted,  and  he  receives  a  little  square  paper 
packet  from  a  rough  straw  basket  containing  a 
pile  of  such  packets.  Presently  a  youth  appears 
with  a  dirty  tin  can  to  be  filled  with  petroleum ; 
he  has  no  money  with  him,  but  says  his  father 
has  sent  him  and  will  pay  when  he  next  has  any, 
and,  as  he  is  the  son  of  the  sheikh  of  the  village, 
the  owner  of  the  shop  trusts  him.  In  a  few 
minutes  a  young  woman  appears  with  a  small 
basket  of  barley  which  she  wishes  to  exchange 
for  some  native  sweets ;  the  shopkeeper  takes  the 
barley,  which  he  empties  into  a  box  half  full  of 
that  grain,  and  gives  her  in  return  a  handful  of 
indigestible-looking  red  and  white  sugar-plums, 
about  the  size  of  peas.  A  boy  comes  next  with 
a  single  egg,  which  he  tenders  in  payment  for 
some  sugar :  the  proper  price  of  the  amount  he 
wants  is  two  eggs,  but  he  has  only  one  just  now, 
and  will  bring  the  other  as  soon  as  he  can  get  it ; 
the  man  agrees,  and  gives  him  an  irregular  lump 
of  sugar  from  a  sackful  in  one  corner,  and  the  lad 
departs  well  pleased. 

The  next  customer  is  a  middle-aged  man,  who 
wants  a  skein  of  red  cotton  for  his  wife.  A  bundle 
of  skeins  wrapped  up  in  paper  is  produced  from 
a  hole  in  the  wall,  and  the  man,  who  is  very 
suspicious,  and  evidently  thinks  the  shopkeeper  is 
trying  to  cheat  him,  at  length  selects  one,  and, 
after  haggling  over  the  price,  produces  a  small 
coin  in  payment.  The  shopkeeper  objects  to  it  as 
being  too  much  worn  ;  '  By  the  life  of  the  Prophet, 


I  have  nothing  else,'  returns  the  customer,  and  the 
other,  rather  than  lose  his  custom,  accepts  it.  It 
is,  however,  a  trifle  more  than  the  price  of  the 
skein,  and,  after  hunting  all  over  his  shop,  the 
salesman  cannot  quite  scrape  together  the  full 
amount  of  change,  so  after  a  lot  of  talking  and 
arguing  the  man  goes  off  with  his  purchase,  and  the 
sum  of  half  a  farthing  to  his  credit  on  the  other's 
1  books ' — i.e.,  his  head  !  Just  as  he  gets  outside 
the  door,  the  boy  who  bought  the  sugar  returns 
to  discharge  his  debt,  one  of  his  mother's  hens 
having  in  the  meanwhile  very  obligingly  laid  an 
egg.     And  so  it  goes  on  all  day  long. 

Even  in  the  large  market  villages  much  of  the 
payments  to  the  shopkeepers  is  in  kind.  In 
exchange  for  their  wares  they  take  fowls,  eggs, 
wheat,  and  other  farm  produce,  which  they  in 
turn  sell  in  the  towns  for  cash.  Another  form 
of  this  trading  by  barter  is  met  with  in  the 
summer.  A  man  has  his  land  planted  with  vines, 
and  so  can  grow  but  little  wheat,  but  during  the 
grape  season  he  will  now  and  then  take  a  load 
of  fruit  to  a  village  where  there  are  no  vines,  and 
exchange  it  for  corn,  giving  three  pounds  of  grapes 
for  a  pound  of  wheat.  Prickly-pears,  tomatoes, 
water-melons,  etc.,  are  often  brought  for  sale  in 
this  way. 

East  of  the  Jordan,  about  Kerak,  where  there  is 
even  less  coin  in  circulation  than  in  other  districts, 
the  people,  when  selling  their  produce,  state  its 
value  in  corn,  even  though  the  payment  may  be 
actually  made  in  coin.     The  shops  in  Kerak  and 


some  other  places  are  much  more  roomy  than 
those  in  Western  Palestine,  as  the  accompanying 
illustration  will  show. 

Cattle  markets  are  held  at  certain  towns  and 
villages,  as  Jerusalem,  Lydd,  etc.,  once  a  week, 
or  at  longer  intervals.  To  these  the  peasants 
bring  their  horses,  camels,  cattle,  mules,  and 
donkeys  for  sale.  That  at  Jerusalem  is  held  on 

There  are  a  few  itinerant  pedlars  who  go  about 
the  country  selling  needles  and  thread,  combs, 
cheap  round  looking-glasses,  and  other  small 
articles,  chiefly  such  as  are  required  by  women. 
They  also  do  most  of  their  trade  by  barter, 
receiving  eggs,  grain,  etc.,  in  return  for  their 
wares,  and  disposing  of  these  in  the  towns  for  a 
fresh  stock  of  goods.  A  few  Jews  wander  about 
selling  silk  for  embroidering  the  women's  dresses ; 
while  itinerant  cobblers,  tinsmiths,  and  jewellers 
are  also  to  be  met  with. 

When  the  Mohammedan  conquest  of  Palestine 
took  place,  Arab  adventurers  and  warriors  from 
various  tribes  of  the  Hejaz,  and  other  parts  of 
Arabia,  settled  in  the  country  and  became  powerful. 
Among  these  were  men  from  two  clans,  or  tribes, 
known  as  Kes  and  Yemen.  They  gradually 
acquired  position  and  authority,  and  had  many 
villages  in  the  Jebel  el  Kuds  under  their  control. 
These  two  tribes  had  been  at  enmity  in  their  own 
land,  and  carried  the  memory  of  this  enmity  into 
Palestine.  After  a  while  the  old  feud  broke  out 
again,    and    there   were   frequent    quarrels,   often 


ending  in  bloodshed,  between  the  various  villages 
attached  to  the  two  factions.  Sometimes  the  one 
got  the  upper  hand,  and  sometimes  the  other. 
The  Christians  were  obliged  to  side  with  one  or 
the  other.  In  one  village  where  there  were 
several  large  families,  one  half  was  Kes,  and  the 
other  Yemen.  Not  that  they  were  keen  partisans, 
but  merely  to  preserve  their  village  from  destruc- 
tion, as,  whichever  side  was  for  the  moment 
supreme,  the  place  would  be  unmolested  for  the 
sake  of  the  moiety  of  the  population  which  was 
in  league  with  that  particular  side.  The  in- 
habitants of  the  villages  which  belong  to  the  two 
factions  were,  and  are  still  to  a  great  extent, 
distinguished  by  the  colour  of  their  turbans,  those 
of  the  Kes  adherents  being  red,  and  the  Yemen 
white.  The  chiefs  of  the  respective  factions  would 
always  acknowledge  the  claims  of  their  Christian 
partisans,  and  would  come  to  their  help  when  in 
danger  from  the  opposite  party.  The  Turkish 
Government  has  during  the  last  twenty-five  years 
made  its  authority  more  felt,  and  in  consequence 
the  fights  between  these  two  factions  have  become, 
to  a  large  extent,  a  thing  of  the  past,  though  not 
altogether  so.  I  can  recall  one  at  least  within  the 
last  few  years,  although  no  lives  were  lost  in  the 

In  some  of  the  villages  of  the  Beni  Zeid,  as 
Abud,  Abu  Meshal,  Slukh,  Deir  ul  Ghassaneh, 
Beit  Rima,  Koba,  and  Kefr  Ain,  are  families  of 
a  widely-spread  clan  known  as  the  Baraghafeh. 
They  take  their  name  from  Abu  Bekr,  the  first 


Khalifa,  or  successor  of  Mohammed,  from  whom 
they  claim  to  be  descended.  They  consider  them- 
selves much  above  the  ordinary  Fellah  in,  and  their 
women  are  secluded,  more  as  those  of  the  towns- 
people. After  marriage  they  are,  in  many  cases, 
not  allowed  to  go  out  of  the  house  into  the  street 
until  middle-aged,  and  under  any  circumstances 
not  for  several  years.  When  at  length  they  do 
begin  to  go  outside  the  house,  they  cover  their 
heads  and  faces  with  a  sort  of  cloak.  In  old  age 
they  go  about  unveiled,  and  dressed  much  as  other 
peasant  women. 

The  Beni  Zeid  mentioned  above  were,  with  the 
Beni  Harith  and  others  whose  names  will  be  seen 
marked  on  some  maps  of  Palestine,  Arab  settlers 
who  acquired  authority  in  bygone  centuries  over 
certain  districts,  their  names  being  given  to  those 
districts  to  the  present  time. 

There  is  a  very  strong  feeling  about  the  duties 
of  clanship  among  the  Fellahin.  This  has,  no 
doubt,  been  fostered  and  developed  by  the  lawless- 
ness and  unsettled  state  of  the  land  in  days  now 
past ;  still,  if  a  man  can  prove  even  the  most  distant 
relationship  to  another,  the  claim  is  recognised,  and 
help  and  assistance  will,  as  far  as  possible,  be  given 
him  in  any  difficulty. 

The  same  feeling  runs  through  most  things,  and 
binds  together  people  of  the  same  creed,  family, 
and  village,  for  mutual  help  and  protection.  On 
the  other  hand,  if  a  quarrel  takes  place  between 
two  persons,  it  is  often  considered  to  extend  to  all 
the  members  of  his  house  or  clan,  and  sometimes 


even  more  widely  still.  This  is  illustrated  by  their 
proverbs,  such,  e.g.,  as,  '  He  who  is  not  of  your 
family  your  enemy  does  not  envy  him,'  and,  again, 
'  Your  neighbour's  enemy  does  not  love  you.' 
This  clannishness  has,  however,  been  fatal  to  any 
national  life ;  its  practical  effect  has  been  to  split 
up  the  people  into  little  parties,  distrustful  of  all 
outside  their  own  particular  set,  and  so  has 
prevented  any  combination  of  the  people  against 
oppression  or  to  secure  better  government.  Though 
no  part  of  the  policy  of  the  foreign  Power  which 
now  rules  Palestine,  it  is,  nevertheless,  another 
instance  of  the  truth  of  the  old  Roman  maxim, 
'  Divide  et  impera.'  In  all  probability  its  source, 
apart  from  an  innate  tendency  in  this  direction, 
is  to  be  found  in  the  influx  of  Arab  settlers  in 
the  period  succeeding  the  Mohammedan  conquest 
of  Syria,  who,  as  mentioned  when  speaking  of  the 
Kes  and  Yemen  factions,  brought  their  ancient 
feuds  with  them,  and  perpetuated  them  in  their 
new  home,  thus  being  a  further  fulfilment  concern- 
ing Ishmael  and  his  descendants,  that  his  hand 
should  be  against  every  man,  and  every  man's 
hand  against  him  (Gen.  xvi.  12).  This  lack  of 
unity  is  acknowledged  by  the  best  of  the  people, 
but  so  far  they  have  found  no  remedy  for  it. 

The  head  of  the  village  is  called  a  Sheikh  (literally, 
*  an  old  man  ').  As  a  rule  there  is  only  one  Sheikh, 
but  occasionally  there  is  more  than  one.  Till 
recent  times  there  was  a  great  deal  of  real  authority 
attaching  to  the  office,  extending  even,  in  rare 
cases,  to  the  power  of  life  and  death.     The  policy 


of  the  Ottoman  Government  of  late  years  has  been 
to  abolish  such  offices,  as  far  as  any  effective 
authority  is  concerned,  so  that  except  in  very  out- 
of-the-way  places,  where  the  central  power  is  still 
comparatively  ineffective,  the  position  of  a  Sheikh 
is  very  largely  a  sinecure,  and  carries  with  it  but 
little  of  the  old  prestige ;  nevertheless,  an  able 
man,  especially  if  he  be  rich  and  of  an  influential 
family,  has  still  a  good  deal  of  indirect  power. 
Many  cases  of  petty  crimes  are  never  taken  to 
the  Government,  but  settled  locally ;  and  I  have 
even  known  the  same  course  pursued  in  a  murder 
case.  In  serious  matters  several  of  the  more 
prominent  Sheikhs  of  the  neighbourhood  will  be 
called  in  to  advise  or  adjudicate,  and  their  decision 
will  be  binding.  When  a  Sheikh  dies,  the  Sheikhs 
of  the  adjacent  villages  meet  together  to  choose  his 
successor,  the  office  not  being  hereditary.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  however,  unless  there  were  anything 
specially  to  disqualify  him,  the  eldest  son  of  the 
late  Sheikh  would  succeed  his  father. 

Besides  the  Sheikh,  every  village  has  a  kind  of 
council  of  men  chosen  by  the  villagers.  They  are 
the  official  representatives  of  the  village  in  all 
matters  which  have  to  go  before  the  Government. 
Thus,  when  the  tithes  have  been  assessed,  a 
document  is  issued  from  the  proper  department 
in  the  head  town  of  the  district  where  the  village 
is  situated,  stating  the  amount  demanded  from 
the  people  for  that  year ;  but  before  it  can  be 
collected,  the  Ikhthjartyah,  as  these  representatives 
are  called,  must  put  their  seals  to  this  document, 



showing  that  they  consider  it  a  just  assessment, 
and  pledging  themselves  to  the  payment  of  it. 
Should  they  consider  it  unjust,  they  are  bound  to 
refuse  to  seal  it,  and  sometimes,  where  this  is  the 
case,  they  do  refuse ;  but  too  often  they  either  lack 
the  courage  to  do  so  or  accept  a  bribe  from  those 
to  whose  interest  it  is  to  put  the  taxes  at  a  high 

There  is  also  an  official  known  as  a  Mukhtar, 
who  has  to  inform  the  Government  of  all  births, 
deaths,  and  marriages,  in  his  community ;  to  collect 
taxes  from  the  people ;  get  passports  for  any  who 
may  wish  to  travel ;  and,  where  anyone  is  arrested, 
to  try  to  get  him  off  or  find  bail  for  him.  Most 
of  the  various  religious  communities  have  each  a 
Mukhtar  of  their  own,  or,  if  they  be  numerous, 
two  or  more,  as  every  twenty-four  families  can, 
if  they  so  desire,  claim  to  have  a  Mukhtar  to 

Compulsory  military  service  obtains  throughout 
the  Turkish  Empire.  Every  year  a  conscription 
takes  place,  when  all  the  able-bodied  Mohammedan 
males  have  to  draw  lots  for  this  purpose.  Christians 
are  not  allowed  to  bear  arms,  this  being  one  of  the 
marks  of  inferiority  imposed  on  them  at  the  time 
of  the  Arab  conquest  of  Palestine.  Instead  of 
military  service  they  have  to  pay  a  special  tax, 
which  is  levied  on  all  males.  The  conscription  is 
hated  by  the  people,  who  do  all  they  can  to  evade 
it.  I  have  even  known  of  a  man  cutting  off  one 
of  his  fingers  in  order  to  disqualify  himself  for 
bearing  arms,  while  a  young  Moslem  I  know  well, 


who  had  his  leg  amputated,  congratulated  himself 
that  now  he  could  not  be  taken  as  a  soldier.  This 
compulsory  service  is  a  heavy  burden  to  the  people. 
In  the  palmy  days  of  Ottoman  rule,  when  the  land 
was  richer  and  the  people  more  prosperous,  it 
pressed  but  lightly  on  them ;  but  now  it  is 
very  different.  The  numbers  of  able-bodied  men 
taken  out  of  the  country,  though  not,  perhaps, 
absolutely  large,  are  relatively  so.  Indeed,  in  some 
cases,  as  a  man  once  said  to  me,  '  only  old  men 
and  boys  are  left  to  till  the  ground.'  This  is,  of 
course,  not  always  the  case,  but  only  when  some 
war-scare  has  led  to  the  calling  out  of  the  reserves. 
Still,  this  compulsory  military  service  is  a  constant 
drain  on  the  Moslem  population,  as  many  of  those 
thus  taken  from  their  homes  never  return,  and  it 
is  a  potent  factor  in  the  steady  diminution  of  the 
Mohammedans  in  Palestine  and  Syria. 

One  characteristic  feature  of  the  village  life  is 
the  Sahrah,  or  'watching.'  If  a  guest  from  the 
city,  or  a  European  stranger,  or  anyone  of  con- 
sequence, is  spending  the  night  in  the  village,  the 
people  of  the  place,  after  the  evening  meal,  will 
drop  in  by  ones  and  twos  to  the  room  where  he 
is  staying,  whether  it  be  with  the  sheikh  in  the 
public  guest-house  or  with  any  one  of  the  villagers. 
The  outer  door  of  the  house  is  always  open,  and 
the  people  stroll  in  as  they  please,  unrebuked.  A 
dark  form  fills  the  doorway,  the  man  pauses  for  a 
moment  after  he  has  crossed  the  threshold  to  slip 
off  his  shoes,  and  then  advancing  into  the  room, 
with   a  general  salute  of  '  May  your  evening  be 



prosperous '  or  '  God  be  with  you '  if  they  are 
Christians,  and  '  Peace  be  upon  you  '  if  Moslems, 
he  comes  up  to  the  principal  guest  and  salutes  him, 
taking  his  hand  between  his  two  palms  and  utter- 
ing an  appropriate  greeting.  He  then  salutes  the 
other  guests,  if  any ;  which  done,  he  takes  his  seat 
among  those  already  present,  squatting  down  in 
the  place  due  to  his  social  position  in  the  little 
community.  Others  come  in  in  quick  succession, 
and  the  room  soon  fills.  The  visitor  is  asked  for 
the  latest  items  of  news  from  the  city.  A  report 
has  been  spread  that  the  Redif  (the  reserves)  are 
to  be  called  out,  and,  if  Moslems,  the  probabilities 
or  the  reverse  of  the  news  being  true  are 
eagerly  discussed,  the  military  service  being  most 

The  news  of  the  village  is  retailed,  the  weather, 
the  prospects  of  the  harvest,  vintage,  or  olive  crop, 
discussed,  or  news  of  the  outside  world,  as  far  as  it 
has  reached  them,  is  told  or  commented  on.  And 
most  extraordinary  news  one  hears  sometimes  ! 
When  King  Edward  succeeded  to  the  throne,  the 
wildest  stories  were  current  among  the  Fellahin  as 
to  the  part  the  Sultan  had  played  in  securing  his 
succession ;  for  they  have  the  most  exaggerated 
ideas  of  the  power  of  the  Sublime  Porte  in  the 
councils  of  Europe.  One  version  T  heard  was,  that 
the  English  did  not  wish  the  Prince  of  Wales  to 
succeed  Queen  Victoria,  but  that  the  Sultan  put 
his  foot  down  and  insisted  on  his  being  accepted 
as  King,  and  that  the  British  nation  of  course  gave 
in  at  once.     Another  version  was,  that  on  Queen 


Victoria's  death  the  crowned  heads  of  Europe  met 
to  discuss  who  should  succeed  her  (just  as  in  the  case 
of  the  death  of  one  of  their  village  sheikhs),  and,  on 
a  difference  of  opinion  arising  among  them,  it  was 
decided  to  refer  the  matter  to  the  Sultan  and  to 
abide  by  his  decision,  and  that  he  decided  for 
King  Edward,  who  was  therefore  chosen  by  the 
other  Sovereigns  as  the  King  of  Great  Britain ! 
These  gatherings  are  full  of  interest  to  a  stranger, 
as  he  learns  much  then  of  the  habits  and  customs 
of  the  people,  while  to  the  missionary  they  are 
invaluable  opportunities  for  delivering  his  message. 

The  Fellahin  have  a  great  love  for  their  native 
place,  and  think  it  is  a  real  hardship  to  have  to 
settle  elsewhere. 

As  in  other  parts  of  the  world,  there  is  a 
considerable  difference  in  the  dialects  spoken  in 
various  parts  of  the  country,  this  difference  con- 
sisting partly  in  pronunciation,  and  partly  in  the 
use  of  different  words,  this  latter  being  increased 
by  the  extreme  copiousness  of  the  Arabic  language, 
and  by  the  small  amount  of  communication,  till 
lately,  between  the  different  districts.  The  towns- 
people often  laugh  at  the  Fellahin  for  their  pro- 
nunciation, and  though  there  are  vulgarisms  in 
this,  yet  they,  too,  can  turn  the  tables  on  the 
former,  and  in  the  matter  of  grammar  they  are, 
at  times,  the  more  correct  of  the  two.  Thus,  the 
Fellahin  very  frequently  pronounce  the  Ay//' (or  soft 
A),  as  a  oh- — ckul-cd-dechacJihi,  (all  the  shops),  instead 
of  kul-cd-dekakrii ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  the 
towns-people  will  have  the  very  disagreeable  habit 


of  dropping  the  h\f  (or  hard  k) — thus,  'anineh  (a 
bottle),  instead  of  kanineh;  Ya-ub  (Jacob),  instead 
of  Yakub.  Occasionally  a  classical  word,  the  mean- 
ing of  which  has  been  forgotten,  is  used  as  a  proper 
name.  Thus,  both  Tabor  and  the  Mount  of  Olives 
are  known  locally  as  Jebel  et  Tiir  (the  Hill,  or 
Mountain,  of  Tfir),  Tur  being  an  archaic  word 
for  hill  (the  same  as  '  Taurus,'  and  our  word  '  tor,' 
used  in  Cumberland,  Westmorland,  Derbyshire, 
and  Devonshire,  for  a  hill*).  Those  Fellahin 
who  come  much  in  contact  with  the  Bedouin 
usually  speak  a  much  purer  and  more  classical 
dialect  than  the  others,  and  also  share  with  them 
certain  peculiarities  of  pronunciation.  Thus,  they 
almost  invariably  pronounce  the  kdf(k)as  a  hard 
g — gam?-,  instead  of  kamr  (the  moon)  —  and  the 
kaf  as  cA,  thus  losing  both  the  k  sounds  of  the 
Arabic  alphabet.  This  is  especially  true  of  the 
Fellahin  east  of  the  Jordan. 

There  are  many  gipsies  in  Palestine,  who  wander 
about  from  village  to  village,  spending  their  whole 
lives  in  miserable  tents.  They  are  divided  into 
different  tribes  or  clans,  each  of  which  keeps  to 
its  own  tract  of  country.  They  are  nominally 
Moslem,  but  what  their  real  religion  is  no  one 
seems  to  know.  Of  late  years  the  Turkish  Govern- 
ment has  exacted  military  service  from  them,  as 

*  There  is  a  curious  instance  of  precisely  the  same  use  of  a 
word  of  forgotten  meaning  as  a  proper  name  in  the  North  of 
England,  a  hill  in  the  lake  district  being  known  as  Tor-pen- 
how  Hill,  each  of  these  four  words  having  precisely  the  same 
meaning,  but  in  as  many  different  languages  or  dialects. 


from  the  Fellahin.  The  women  are  inveterate 
beggars,  and  a  proverb  runs,  '  Put  a  gipsy  woman 
in  a  hundred  palaces,  and  she  will  still  beg.'  They 
have  a  language  of  their  own,  which  the  Fellahin 
contemptuously  call  Asfureh,  or  'sparrows'  talk.' 
They  are  on  good  terms  with  the  peasants,  and 
are  the  blacksmiths  of  the  countryside,  doing  all 
the  little  odd  jobs  which  a  village  smith  would  do 
in  England,  but  with  the  most  primitive  of  tools. 
I  am  inclined  to  think  that  this  was  the  case  in 
Jewish  times  also,  and  may  partly  account  for  the 
fact  that  iron  and  smiths  are  so  rarely  mentioned 
in  the  Old  Testament  in  connection  with  the 
Israelites.  It  also,  I  think,  throws  light  on  a 
rather  curious  passage.  In  1  Sam.  xiii.  19  we 
read  :  ■  Now  there  was  no  smith  found  throughout 
all  the  land  of  Israel ;  for  the  Philistines  said,  Lest 
the  Hebrews  make  them  swords  or  spears.'  It  is 
not  said  that  the  Philistines  killed  all  the  smiths  in 
Israel,  and,  indeed,  this  would  have  been  impossible, 
unless  the  nation  had  been  brought  much  lower 
than  we  know  to  have  been  the  case ;  yet  the 
Israelites  seem  to  have  been  ignorant  of  the  art  of 
making  these  weapons,  and  to  have  been  deprived 
by  the  action  of  the  Philistines,  of  those  to  whom 
they  would  otherwise  have  gone  for  swords  or 

Had  these  roving  smiths  been  found  then,  as 
now,  the  matter  would  have  been  simple  enough, 
as  they  would  have  been  easily  discovered,  and  by 
merely  removing  them,  with  their  ■  houses  of  hair  ' 
and  other  impedimenta,  into  the  Philistines'  country, 


the  Israelites  would  have  been  effectually  deprived 
of  the  means  of  obtaining  arms. 

At  times  one  meets  peasants  going  about  with  a 
dancing  bear,  which  they  make  perform  for  hire. 
The  bear  is  the  Syrian  species  from  the  Lebanon, 
smaller  in  size  and  lighter  in  colour  than  the 
European  one.  Sometimes  besides  a  bear  they 
have  a  goat  which  does  climbing  tricks. 

There  are  certain  men  who  may  be  called 
1  improvisers,'  who  go  about  the  country  and  sing 
to  the  accompaniment  of  a  native  violin  or  some 
other  instrument.  Sometimes  two  of  them  will 
have  a  contest  of  skill,  improvising  against  each 
other.  There  is  a  famous  instance  of  two  such, 
one  a  Maronite  and  the  other  a  Greek,  which  I 

Says  the  Maronite  : 

1 1  am  not  like  other  men,  nor  of  an  odious  creed,  nor  like 
the  Greek  priest,  for  whom  there  is  no  place  in  heaven.1 

The  Greek  replies : 

'  I  am  not  like  other  men,  nor  of  a  fettered  creed,  nor  like 
Mar  Martin,  binding  a  clout  on  his  eye  C 
the  allusion  being  to  the  Maronite  being  bound  to 
Home,  and  to  Martin  their  patron  saint,  who  is 
said  to  have  lost  an  eye  by  a  blow  from  the  awl  of 
a  cobbler  whom  he  had  attacked  in  controversy. 



The  infant  of  a  peasant  family,  when  it  arrives  on 
the  scene,  is,  if  a  boy,  heartily  welcomed.  Even  if 
a  girl  the  fact  is  not  regretted  to  the  extent  it  would 
be  in  the  case  of  towns-people,  as,  if  spared  to 
grow  up,  a  good  sum  will  be  received  for  her  at  her 
marriage.  As  soon  as  born,  the  child  is  rubbed 
all  over  with  salt  and  oil,  and  wrapped  in  old 
garments ;  on  the  third  day  it  is  again  rubbed 
with  salt  and  oil,  or  very  frequently  with  a  mixture 
of  oil  and  red  earth  instead.  On  the  seventh  day 
it  has  a  bath,  and  from  that  day  till  the  fortieth  it 
is  washed  about  once  a  week.  After  the  fortieth 
day,  infants  are  not  washed  again  till  they  can  talk, 
the  only  exception  being  that  the  face  is  sometimes 
cleaned  with  a  little  milk,  but  never  with  water. 
Such  is  the  general  practice,  but  it  varies  a  good 
deal  in  different  parts  of  the  country. 

The  swaddling-clothes  (St.  Luke  ii.  7)  consist  of 
several  pieces  :  a  tiny  shirt,  a  cap,  a  little  cotton 
coat,  a  long  strip  of  calico  which  is  bound  round 
and  round  the  child  to  insure  his  body,  arms,  and 
legs  being  perfectly  straight  and  rigid,  and  over  all 



a  large  square  of  print  or  other  material  in  which 
the  body  is  '  wrapped  '  tightly,  and  which  is  secured 
by  a  tape.  These  clothes  are  worn  till  the  child  is 
two  or  three  months  old,  the  length  of  time  being 
determined  by  his  size  and  strength,  a  small  delicate 
child  being  bound  up  far  longer  than  a  large  healthy 

The  peasant  women  are  very  strong  physically, 
and  usually  work  hard  up  to  the  time  of  their  con- 
finement, and  are  about  again  very  soon  after  it, 
without  in  any  way  suffering  from  doing  so.  I  re- 
member a  case  of  a  Moslem  woman  who  supplied  us 
with  milk,  walking  each  day  into  the  city  with  her 
basket  of  milk -jars  on  her  head,  whose  child  was 
born  as  she  was  returning  one  day  from  her  round : 
she  wrapped  the  little  one  in  her  veil,  and  walked 
home  with  it  as  if  nothing  had  happened.  In 
another  similar  case,  a  Christian  woman,  who  had 
gone  to  cut  firewood  several  miles  from  the  village, 
returned  with  a  heavy  faggot  of  sticks  on  her  head 
and  her  new-born  infant  wrapped  up  in  her  sleeve. 
Village  midwives  receive  but  a  trifling  remuneration, 
usually  in  the  form  of  wheat  or  some  other  house- 
hold necessary,  and  only  in  a  few  of  the  more 
prosperous  villages  are  they  ever  paid  in  money. 

Should  the  father  be  absent  from  home  at  the 
time  of  the  child's  birth,  someone  will  go  to  the 
town,  or  wherever  he  may  be  working  (especially 
should  it  be  a  first-born  and  a  son),  to  take  the 
news.  On  meeting  the  father,  he  greets  him  with 
the  words  '  El  besharah  an  dak '  (There  is  good  news 
at  home).     The  latter,  who  at  once  guesses  what 


the  good  news  is,  replies,  '  May  God  announce 
good  news  to  you :  I  give  you  so-and-so,'  naming 
as  valuable  a  present  as  his  circumstances  will 

Among  the  Christian  peasantry  the  next  im- 
portant matter  is  the  naming  of  a  child.  In  the 
case  of  the  first-born  of  an  eldest  son,  custom 
prescribes  the  name  by  which  he  must  be  called — ■ 
viz.,  that  of  his  paternal  grandfather.  Thus,  if  a 
man  of  the  name  of  Musa  (Moses)  has  a  son  of  the 
name  of  Ibrahim  (Abraham),  the  latter  will  call  his 
eldest  son  Musa,  after  his  father.  So  much  is  this 
the  case  that  sometimes  a  mere  boy  is  called  the 
'father  of  So-and-so,'  the  name  being  that  of  the 
son  which  it  is  hoped  he  will  one  day  have,  and 
which  he  will,  in  accordance  with  this  custom,  call 
by  his  father's  name  ;*  for  when  a  child  is  born  to 
a  young  couple,  they  are  known  thenceforth,  not 
by  their  own  names,  but  as  the  '  father  of  So-and- 
so  '  and  the  '  mother  of  So-and-so.'  Thus,  if  B-ashid 
has  a  son  Towfik,  he  will  no  longer  be  known  as 
Rashid,  nor  will  his  wife,  Jamileh,  be  known  by 
that  name ;  but  he  will  be  called  Abu  Towfik 
(Father  of  Towfik),  and  she  will  be  called  Jmm 
Towfik  (Mother  of  Towfik).  This  custom,  how- 
ever, rather  adds  to  the  difficulty  of  distinguishing- 
people  in  ordinary  conversation,  as  there  are,  strictly 

*  This  expression  has  sometimes  been  differently  explained 
as  an  idiom  peculiar  to  the  Fellah  in,  viz.,  Abu  for  Abuhu — 
i.e.,  '  father '  instead  of  '  his  father.*1  Careful  inquiry  has, 
however,  convinced  me  that  this  is  incorrect,  the  explanation 
in  the  text  being  the  true  one. 


speaking,  no  surnames  in  use  in  Palestine.  For 
instance,  in  the  two  examples  given  above,  Ibrahim 
will  be  in  more  precise  language,  as,  e.g.,  in  the 
address  of  a  letter,  Ibrahim  Musa — i.e.,  son  of 
Miisa  ;  and  Towfik  will  be  Towfik  Rashid — i.e., 
son  of  Rashid  ;  whereas  their  eldest  sons  will  be 
Miisa  Ibrahim,  and  Rashid  Towfik  respectively. 

On  the  other  hand,  besides  these  appellations, 
there  is  the  name  of  the  man's  '  house '  or  '  clan  ' 
which  can  be  used  as  a  means  of  further  identifying 
or  distinguishing  him.  In  almost  every  village 
there  are  two  or  more  of  these  '  clans  '  or  '  houses,' 
bearing  sometimes  (as  the  Scotch  clans)  a  common 
name.  This  name  may  be  derived  from  that  of  a 
distinguished  ancestor,  or  a  place  from  which  they 
came  originally,  or  perhaps  from  some  notable 
circumstance  connected  with  their  history.  Thus, 
a  man  can  be  further  described  as  '  So-and-so,  son 
of  So-and-so  of  such  a  house.'  This  is  a  common 
Oriental  expression,  and  one  we  find  occurring  in 
the  Old  Testament,  as,  for  example,  Num.  xvii.  8, 
1  Sam.  xxv.  3,  2  Chron.  xxii.  9  ;  and  on  the  Assyrian 
monuments  Beit  Khumri,  House  of  Omri,  is  the 
usual  term  for  the  Kings  of  Israel. 

Of  the  names  in  ordinary  use  a  few  are  peculiar 
to  Moslems  and  Christians  respectively.  Of  the 
former  may  be  mentioned  such  as  Mohammed  and 
Mustapha  among  men's  names,  and  Khadijeh, 
Zenab  and  'Aysheh  among  women's  ;  while  of  the 
latter  Bulus  and  Butrus  will  serve  as  instances  of 
men's,  and  Maria  and  Lydia  of  women's  names. 
Many  of  the  Mohammedan  names  are  compounds 

NAMES  93 

of  one  or  other  of  the  ninety-nine  names  of  God,  as 
Abul-ul-Kadir  (Slave  of  the  Almighty),  Abd-ur- 
Rahmiin  (Slave  of  the  Compassionate),  and  so  on. 
The  great  majority  of  names  are  common  to 
Mohammedans  and  Christians.  Many  are  given 
because  of  their  meaning,  such  as  Towfik,  fortunate  ; 
Jamil,  handsome ;  Anis,  sociable ;  Zarifeh,  beauti- 
ful ;  Nabihah,  intelligent ;  and  so  on.  The  significa- 
tion of  some  of  the  compound  names  is  very 
beautiful :  thus,  Lutfallah  and  Farajallah,  both  of 
which  are  men's  names,  mean  '  the  gentleness  of 
God '  and  '  the  rest  of  God '  respectively ;  and 
Rahmetallah,  a  girl's  name,  '  the  mercy  of  God.' 

Among  the  Moslems  there  is  no  special  ceremony 
connected  with  the  naming  of  a  child.  If  the 
father  has  no  predilection  for  any  particular  name, 
he  goes  to  the  Khatib  to  consult  him  about  it. 
These  men  have  books  which  give  lists  of  special 
names  for  each  day  of  the  week,  and  the  father 
selects  one  of  those  given  for  the  day  on  which  the 
child  was  born. 

The  Christians,  of  course,  have  their  children 
baptized,  and  the  rite  is  usually  administered 
within  forty  days  after  birth.  In  the  Greek 
Church  the  children  always  have  sponsors,  and  the 
difficulty  of  finding  persons  willing  to  take  that 
office  for  a  child  sometimes  delays  baptism.  It  is 
usual  for  people  to  offer  to  be  sponsors,  as,  owing 
to  the  fact  that  it  is  customary  for  them  to  make 
presents  to  their  godchildren,  parents  are  very 
reluctant  to  ask  people  to  stand.  Where  persons 
have    been    godparents   to    a    first-born   child,    it 


is  usual  for  them  to  act  the  same  part  by  all  the 
subsequent  members  of  the  family.  Sponsorship  is 
much  thought  of  (though  not  from  a  religious  point 
of  view),  and  is  held  to  constitute  a  kind  of  relation- 
ship— so  much  so  that  a  man's  own  children  may 
not  intermarry  with  his  godchildren.  Baptism  in 
the  Eastern  Churches  is  always  by  immersion,  and 
is  immediately  followed  by  the  Chrism,  or  anointing 
with  holy  oil,  which  the  Greek  Church  holds  to  be 
equivalent  to  the  rite  of  Confirmation  in  the 
Churches  of  Western  Christendom.* 

The  desire  for  children,  and  especially  sons,  is 
intensely  strong  in  the  East.  For  a  wife  to  be 
childless  is,  among  the  Moslems,  ample  reason  for 
divorcing  her.  This  longing  is  closely  connected 
with  the  great  aim  of  all  Easterns — viz.,  '  the 
building  up  of  a  house'  (cf.  2  Sam.  vii.  27  and 
1  Kings  xi.  38).  The  Arabic  words  for  '  son '  and 
4  daughter '  are  (as  in  Hebrew)  from  the  same  root 
as  the  ordinary  word  for  '  to  build,'  children  being 
looked  upon  as  stones,  as  it  were,  in  a  building. 
This  feeling  has  doubtless  its  origin  in  the  yearning 
for  immortality  which  is  found  in  every  human 
being,  and  of  which  what  is  ordinarily  called 
ambition  is  one  of  the  best-known  manifestations. 
This  idea  finds  expression  in  many  salutations  and 
phrases  used  in  everyday  life.  '  May  God  leave 
you  your  children '  prays  the  beggar,  who  hopes 
that  you  will  reward  his  prayer  by  a  gift ;  '  May 

*  Circumcision  is  universally  practised  among  Moham- 
medans. There  is  no  rite  connected  with  it,  and  no  limit  of 
time  within  which  it  must  take  place. 


God  build  your  house '  is  one  of  the  best  blessings 
which  a  grateful  recipient  of  alms  can  wish  the 
donor ;  '  The  safety  of  your  children '  is  the  ordinary 
response  to  the  appropriate  salutation  at  a  funeral 
or  on  hearing  of  a  death.  The  prophet's  sentence 
upon  Agag  (1  Sam.  xv.  33),  'As  thy  sword  hath 
made  women  childless,  so  shall  thy  mother  be  child- 
less among  women,'  would  to  an  Oriental  be  the 
most  righteous,  and  at  the  same  time  the  most 
terrible  retribution,  which  could  follow  his  crimes. 

The  people  have  but  little  idea  of  their  children's 
ages,  or  of  their  own,  for  that  matter.  Ask  an  old 
man  in  one  of  the  villages  what  his  age  is :  '  Well, 
I  was  married  the  year  Ibrahim  Pasha  took 
Palestine,'  or,  '  My  second  son  was  born  the  year 
the  cholera  came,'  will  be  his  answer.  Often,  when 
inquiring  how  old  a  child  in  one  of  our  schools 
might  be,  I  have  been  met  with  the  answer,  '  How 
can  I  tell  ?  You  must  know,  for  you  baptized  him.' 
It  is  true  that  the  Greek  Church  keeps  a  kind  of 
record  of  baptisms,  and  that  of  late  years  the 
Turkish  Government  has  required  all  births  to  be 
registered  ;  yet  a  good  deal  of  laxity  prevails  about 
these  matters,  more  especially  in  the  remoter  parts 
of  the  country.  If  parents  know,  even  approxi- 
mately, their  children's  ages,  it  arises  from  the  fact 
of  their  having  been  born  in  a  year  when  some 
event  of  special  interest  took  place,  such  as  an 
outbreak  of  cholera,  an  invasion  of  locusts,  or  the 
like.  On  one  occasion  I  was  staying  the  night  with 
a  well-to-do  peasant  in  the  land  of  Moab,  and  in 
the  course  of  the  evening  a  neighbour  came  in  to 


see  me.  At  a  break  in  the  conversation,  my  host 
remarked  that  his  eldest  son,  a  well-grown  lad  who 
was  present,  had  been  ploughing  all  day.  '  Plough- 
ing !'  exclaimed  the  neighbour  :  '  you  shouldn't  let 
him  do  such  hard  work,  he's  too  young  for  it.' 
1  He's  not  too  young  :  he's  sixteen.'  '  Sixteen ! 
Nonsense  !  Why,  what  year  was  he  born  V  '  I  don't 
know  what  year  it  was,  but  it  was  the  time  the  red 
donkey  died,  and  that,  I'm  sure,  was  sixteen  years 
ago !' 

Women  often  nurse  their  children  for  a  very  long 
time,  especially  in  the  case  of  a  first  boy  or  where 
the  mother  has  been  long  married  before  having  a 
child.  Occasionally  under  such  circumstances  a 
boy  will  be  nursed  for  three  or  four  years.  This 
custom  explains  how  it  was  that  the  child  Samuel 
could  be  left  at  Shiloh  shortly  after  his  mother 
had  weaned  him  (1  Sam.  i.  24).  When  a  child  is 
weaned,  they  sometimes  cook  wheat,  lentils,  beans, 
and  such-like,  put  sweetmeats  on  it,  and  send  dishes 
of  it  to  friends  to  commemorate  the  event.  In  like 
manner  the  Christians  at  the  baptism  of  a  boy 
commonly  make  a  feast,  inviting  the  friends  and 
neighbours  and  officiating  priest. # 

Like  children  all  the  world  over,  those  of  Pales- 
tine, as  soon  as  they  can  run  about,  imitate  the 
doings  of  their  elders  :  make  mud  houses,  toy  ovens, 
and  copy  their  mothers  at  work  in  the  house.  The 
boys  have  certain  games  which  they  play  with  zest, 
though  not  with  the  energy  and  precision  of  English 

*  The  Moslems  occasionally  do  the  same  at  the  circum- 
cision of  a  child. 

GAMES  97 

boys.  One  of  these  games  somewhat  resembles  our 
hockey,  being  played  with  a  ball  made  of  rags, 
about  the  size  of  a  tennis-ball,  and  curved  sticks. 
It  is  called  Kdr,  and  is  played  chiefly  in  the  winter. 
A  level  piece  of  ground  is  selected,  and  a  hole  called 
'the  mother'  is  made  in  the  centre.  One  boy 
guards  this  hole,  the  others  endeavouring  to  knock 
the  ball  into  it,  and  he  trying  to  prevent  this.  It  is 
a  most  exciting  game  judged  by  the  shouts  of  the 
players.  Another  and  milder  amusement  is  played 
by  three  or  four  boys  at  a  time.  Each  boy  has 
several  little  darts  or  arrows  which  are  thick,  heavy, 
sharp- pointed,  and  feathered  with  pieces  of  paper. 
A  player  throws  one  of  these  darts  so  as  to  make  it 
stick  upright  in  the  ground ;  the  next  one  tries  to 
throw  his  arrow  across  the  first  in  such  a  way 
as  to  knock  it  over,  and  at  the  same  time  take  an 
upright  position  like  that  of  the  first  one.  If  he 
is  successful  in  this,  he  takes  the  other  player's 
arrow.  This  game  is  confined  to  the  winter  and 
spring,  as  it  can  only  be  played  while  the  ground 
is  soft. 

A  third  game  called  Mankalch  is  played  by  men 
as  well  as  boys,  and  has  a  tremendous  fascination 
for  the  people.  It  is  played  on  a  board  with  four 
rows  of  holes,  each  row  having  eight  holes.  Small 
stones  are  used,  each  player  having  a  certain 
number,  which  are  distributed  according  to  rule  in 
the  holes,  and  the  game  consists  in  getting  all  the 
opponents'  pieces.  It  appears  to  be  a  very  compli- 
cated game,  and  I  have  never  had  time  to  master 



the  rules.  It  is  played  with  great  zest,  and  some 
men  waste  much  time  over  it.# 

In  addition  to  their  games,  the  boys  make  slings 
with  which  they  hurl  stones  to  a  considerable  dis- 
tance. Some  are  very  clever  at  this  pastime,  and  a 
strong  lad  can  send  one  with  tremendous  force,  and 
a  whiz  almost  like  that  of  a  rifle  bullet ;  so  that,  after 
seeing  them  engaged  in  this  amusement,  one  can 
well  understand  how  formidable  a  weapon  a  sling 
would  be  in  the  hands  of  a  powerful  man  of  skilful 
aim,  especially  before  the  invention  of  firearms, 
when  fighting  was  at  close  quarters,  if  not  actually 
hand-to-hand.  The  slings  are  made  of  coarse 
woollen  string,  with  a  sort  of  bag  in  the  centre  to 
hold  the  stone. 

The  boys  also  make  little  bird-traps  of  one  or 
two  twigs  and  a  piece  of  string.  They  are  baited 
with  a  berry,  or  some  other  food,  and  just  laid  on  the 
ground  in  the  haunts  of  the  birds.  With  the  same 
object  they  make  limed  twigs  from  mulberry  and 
other  trees  by  heating  the  young  shoots  over  a  fire. 

Gambling  is  strictly  forbidden  to  Moslems,  and  is 
looked  upon  by  all  classes  and  creeds  as  very  wrong, 
and  any  game  which  is  in  any  way  associated  with 
that  vice  is  entirely  avoided  by  respectable  people. 

Education   is   making  great  strides  among  the 

*  This  game  is  spread  widely  throughout  the  East.  At 
Zanzibar,  and  along  the  eastern  coast  of  Africa,  where  it  is 
known  by  the  name  of  Bao,  it  is  much  played ;  while  in 
Uganda,  where  it  has  probably  been  introduced  by  the  Arab 
traders,  and  is  called  Mzveso,  I  have  seen  the  natives  spend 
hours  over  it  at  one  sitting. 


peasantry.  The  late  Bishop  Gobat,  on  his  appoint- 
ment to  the  English  bishopric  in  Jerusalem  in  1849, 
found  that  there  were  practically  no  schools  at  all 
for  the  Arabic-speaking  population,  and  the  means 
which  he  then  took  to  supply  the  deficiency  have 
been  the  origin  of  all  the  educational  work  now 
being  carried  on,  as  they  aroused,  first  the  Oriental 
Churches,  and  then  the  Turkish  Government,  to 
provide  schools  for  the  different  sections  of  the 
community.  Now,  throughout  the  villages  and 
hamlets,  schools  have  been  opened  in  all  but  the 
very  small  places,  and  teachers  appointed,  in  the 
case  of  the  Christians  by  the  various  Churches  to 
which  they  belong,  and  in  the  case  of  the  Moslems 
by  the  Ottoman  Government.  In  the  latter  a 
fairly  strict  watch  is  now  kept  on  the  attendance  of 
the  boys,  the  parents  being  fined  if  the  children  are 
not  regular.  For  the  girls,  however,  there  is  little 
or  no  provision  apart  from  the  mission  schools. 
Among  the  Mohammedans  the  teacher  is  frequently 
also  the  Khatib,  a  religious  instructor,  who  is  either 
in  receipt  of  a  fixed  salary  from  the  Government, 
or,  by  the  orders  of  the  latter,  receives  a  certain 
amount  (generally  in  grain)  from  each  family.  This 
last  arrangement,  however,  as  far  as  I  know,  only 
obtains  in  the  smaller  hamlets.  He  also  some- 
times combines  other  occupations  with  that  of 
pedagogue  ;  thus,  in  one  village  I  know  he  is  also 
village  carpenter,  making  and  mending  ploughs, 
and  other  agricultural  implements,  in  the  courtyard 
of  the  little  village  mosque,  while  teaching  his 
youthful  scholars  their  letters  or  the  Koran. 


The  early  age  at  which  the  children  begin  to 
work  sadly  interferes  with  their  acquiring  more 
than  an  elementary  knowledge  of  the  three  R's. 
The  boys  generally  begin  when  very  small  by 
helping  in  specially  busy  times,  such  as  harvest, 
when  they  drive  the  grain-laden  animals  from  the 
field  to  the  threshing-floor;  or  in  the  olive-gathering, 
when  they  pick  up  the  fallen  berries  under  the 
trees.  When  somewhat  older  they  will  be  trusted 
to  take  the  kids  and  lambs  out  to  graze  near  the 
village,  or  they  may  go  with  their  fathers  to  the 
city,  driving  donkeys  laden  with  corn,  wood,  etc., 
to  sell  there.  Gradually  harder  work  is  given 
them  till  that  of  a  full-grown  man  is  reached. 

The  girls  begin,  if  anything,  earlier  than  the 
boys,  often  helping  at  harvest  and  olive -gathering 
as  they  do,  besides  which  they  very  soon  assist 
their  mothers  in  the  house-work,  fetching  water 
and  wood,  baking,  cooking,  cleaning  the  corn,  and 
doing  other  things  that  fall  to  the  lot  of  the  women. 
It  is  found  by  experience  that  unless  the  girls  begin 
early  to  accustom  themselves  to  carry  the  heavy 
weights,  such  as  wood,  water,  etc.,  which  are  always 
borne  on  the  head,  and  the  carrying  of  which  forms 
part  of  a  woman's  ordinary  work,  they  never  can 
acquire  the  necessary  strength  and  skill  to  do  so. 
This  is  one  of  the  many  practical  problems  to  be 
solved  by  those  who  wish  to  raise  the  peasant 
women  of  Palestine,  and  to  give  them  such  an 
education  as  will  fit  them  to  be  the  helpmeets  of 
the  rising  generation  of  more  educated  men. 

The  Fellahin  have  wonderful  power  of  memory, 


due  largely,  no  doubt,  to  the  fact  that  for  centuries 
they  have  had  solely  to  rely  on  their  memories,  as, 
being  unable  to  read  or  write,  they  have  had  no 
extraneous  aids.  The  children  have  a  remarkable 
faculty  for  learning  things  by  heart,  even  without 
understanding  them.  They  are  very  quick  in 
acquiring  a  knowledge  of  foreign  languages, 
especially  where  these  are  spoken  at  all  in  the 
place  where  they  live.*  This,  I  think,  throws 
light  on  the  much-debated  question  of  what 
language  our  Blessed  Lord  spoke.  In  a  place 
like  Nazareth,  so  near  to,  if  not  actually  on,  one 
of  the  great  highroads  of  Western  Asia,  He  would 
have  frequent  opportunities  of  hearing  at  least  one 
foreign  language  (Greek)  spoken.  In  the  home  of 
the  humble  carpenter,  Aramaic,  or  whatever  the 
Semitic  language  then  spoken  in  Palestine  be 
called,  would  be  that  ordinarily  used,  but  in  the 
workshop  and  the  market-place  Greek  would  be  as 
often  heard  as  the  other.  My  own  view  is  that 
He  was  as  much  at  home  in  the  one  as  in  the 
other  (the  same  being  true,  probably,  of  all  the 
Galilean  Apostles),  but  that,  in  hours  of  intensest 
feeling,  the  words  which — we  may  say  it  with  all 
reverence — would  naturally  come  to  His  lips  were 

*  The  case  of  a  Syrian  servant  we  once  had  illustrates, 
though  from  another  nation,  this  facility  of  acquiring  lan- 
guages. She  was  a  peasant  from  a  village  in  Mesopotamia, 
a  woman  of  no  intellectual  power  whatever,  and  of  very  little 
education ;  yet  she  could  speak  five  Oriental  languages, 
appearing  equally  at  home  in  every  one,  and  could  read  two 
of  them. 


those  of  the  tongue  which  in  childhood  were  learnt 
from  the  lips  of  the  Virgin  Mother. 

From  some  points  of  view  the  family  life  (not 
home  life  as  we  understand  it,  of  which  there  is 
very  little)  is  much  more  developed  than  with  us. 
Thus,  if  a  man  has  several  grown-up  sons,  all  will 
often  live  together.  They  all  till  the  land  together, 
and  take  their  share  of  looking  after  the  goats  and 
sheep.  Their  interests  are  all  one,  and  during  the 
father's  lifetime  no  son  would  have  anything  of  his 
own,  nor  would  he  claim  any  share  of  the  property 
or  money.  Even  when  one  or  more  of  the  sons 
marry,  they  do  not  go  away ;  the  father  builds  a 
room  for  the  newly-married  couple  by  the  side  of 
or  on  the  roof  of  his  own,  another  being  added  for 
each  son  as  he  marries — the  family  thus  living  and 
working  as  one.  Sometimes  a  father,  who  is  getting 
old  and  finds  himself  unable  to  do  his  part  in  tilling 
the  ground,  will  occasionally  himself  divide  his  land 
among  his  sons,  who  for  the  remainder  of  his  life 
share  in  supporting  him  in  an  honourable  inde- 
pendence. Of  course,  after  a  time  some  have  to 
hive  off  if  the  family  grows  numerous,  and,  owing 
to  the  increasing  poverty  of  the  people,  they  drift 
to  the  towns  to  find  work,  while  many  have 
emigrated,  more  particularly  to  Egypt  and  North 
and  South  America.  The  people  of  Bethlehem, 
who  are  particularly  enterprising,  are  remarkable 
for  this  spirit  of  emigration,  and  there  are  little 
colonies  of  them  to  be  found,  not  only  in  America, 
but  also  in  Hayti,  Australia,  East  Africa,  and  other 


The   degraded   position   of  woman   in   Moslem 
lands   is    too   well   known   to   need    any   detailed 
statement,  and  in  Palestine  it  is  neither  better  nor 
worse  than  in  most  places  where  Islam  holds  sway. 
The  condition  of  the  Moslem  Felahah,  or  peasant 
woman,  is,  however,  as  a  rule  decidedly  less  irksome 
than  that  of  her  town  sister.     With  the  exception 
of  those  living  in  the  extreme  South,  on  the  borders 
of  the  Egyptian  frontier,  and  of  the  Baraghafeh 
(previously   mentioned),   the    peasant   women    are 
always  unveiled.     They  are  much  more  the  equals 
of  their  husbands  than  is  the  case  with  the  towns- 
people.    The  latter  often  know  nothing  whatever 
about  their  husband's  concerns,  being  shut  up  in 
the  Harim,  or  women's  quarters,  all  day,  or  only 
going  out  to  see  other  women  similarly  circum- 
stanced.     They    are    the    toys,    drudges,    slaves, 
chattels,  of  their  husbands,  never  his  companions 
or  equals.  It  is  otherwise  with  the  country-woman  ; 
the  very  conditions  of  her  life  compel  her  to  be 
more  to  her  husband  than  the  towns-woman.     She 
knows   all   about   his  work,   suffers   in  his   losses, 
rejoices   in  his   gains  ;   she   helps  to  till   the  soil, 
gather  in  the  harvest,  and  sell  the  produce  of  the 
land   in  the  towns  ;   occasionally,  even,  she   rules 
the  whole  family.     Still,  when  all  is  said  and  done, 
the  position  of  woman  among  Mohammedans  is  a 
fearfully  low  one  ;  she  is  looked  upon  as  hardly  a 
human  being,  soundly  thrashed  whenever  she  dis- 
pleases her  lord  and  master,  and  is  liable  to  be 
divorced  any  moment,  or  superseded  by  a  younger 
and  better-looking  wife,  at  his  mere  caprice. 


There  is  a  curious  expression — '  Far  be  it  from 
you  ' — used  by  the  Arabs  when  speaking  of  any- 
thing not  very  nice.  Thus,  a  man  was  once 
describing  to  me  one  of  the  old  Roman  bridges 
over  the  Jordan,  and  enlarging  on  the  traffic  which 
crossed  it,  '  thousands  of  camels,  tens  of  thousands 
of  sheep,  and,  far  be  it  from  you,  quantities  of  pigs.' 
Sometimes  in  a  Moslem  village  a  man  has  come  to 
me  saying,  '  Will  you  give  me  some  medicine  for  a 
sick  person  V  '  Do  you  want  it  for  yourself  V  *  No  ; 
for  someone  else.'  '  For  a  child  V  '  No ;  far  be  it 
from  you,  for  my  wife  !' 

The  real  cause  of  the  degradation  of  woman  is 
the  permission  given  by  the  Mohammedan  law  to 
polygamy,  and  as  long  as  the  practice  has  the 
sanction  of  religion,  so  long  must  woman  be  kept 
down.  On  the  other  hand,  one  great  reason  of  the 
comparatively  favourable  condition  of  the  peasant 
women  is  that  polygamy  is  much  less  common  in 
the  villages  than  in  the  towns.  This  is  chiefly  due 
to  the  poverty  of  the  people,  as  but  few  can  afford 
to  pay  the  dowry  of  more  than  one  wife ;  indeed, 
an  increasing  number  of  young  men  are  from  this 
cause  unable  to  marry  at  all.  Even  the  Moslems 
are  alive  to  the  fact  that  polygamy  is  a  fruitful 
source  of  trouble  and  sorrow  in  families.  Says 
one  of  their  proverbs,  '  Two  logs  on  the  hearth  and 
two  wives  in  a  house ' — that  is,  keep  up  the  fire 
which  would  go  out  were  there  only  one ;  while  a 
second  runs,  '  One  wife  in  a  house  builds  it  up,  a 
second  pulls  it  down,  and  a  third  is  all  that  is  vile.' 

Though  what  has  been  said  above  refers  to  the 


Moslem  women,  and  though,  of  course,  the  con- 
dition of  Christians  is  in  many  ways  much  better, 
yet  the  whole  attitude  of  the  men  towards  women 
is  that  of  a  superior  to  a  greatly  inferior  race,  and 
it  is  impossible  but  that  the  degradation  of  the  vast 
majority  of  the  women  of  a  country,  especially 
where  they  are  of  the  dominant  religion,  must 
affect  injuriously  the  position  of  woman  generally 
throughout  the  country. 

It  is  only  right  to  add  that,  while  Mohammedan 
law  gives  the  utmost  facility  to  divorce,  there  are 
various  circumstances  which  tend  to  check  it, 
such  as  the  fear  of  offending  the  wife's  relations, 
especially  if  she  belong  to  an  influential  family.* 
Occasionally,  too,  there  is  real  affection  between 
husband  and  wife.  I  knew  of  a  case  where  a 
Moslem  peasant  became  a  leper,  and  his  wife's 
friends  repeatedly  urged  her  to  leave  him  ;  but  she 
persistently  refused,  saying  that  he  had  always 
been  a  good  husband  to  her,  and  that  she  would 
not  desert  him  in  his  trouble.  She  remained  with 
him,  and  carefully  tended  him,  till  his  death.  This 
was  all  the  more  remarkable  as  not  only  the 
Mohammedans,  but  also  the  Greeks,  consider  that 
when  a  married  person  becomes  a  leper  the 
marriage  bond  is  ipso  facto  dissolved,  and  the  latter 

*  Among  the  very  few  really  aristocratic  Moslem  families 
of  Jerusalem  there  exists  a  kind  of  code  of  honour  which 
forbids  them  to  have  more  than  one  wife  or  to  divorce  her, 
and  I  have  reason  to  believe  that  this  is  strictly  observed 
even  where  the  woman  is  childless.  Of  course  this  does  not 
affect  the  question  of  female  slaves. 


allows  the  other  partner  to  marry  again,  even  while 
the  leprous  wife  or  husband  is  still  living. 

Divorce  is  allowed  by  the  Greek  Church,  but,  as 
far  as  I  know,  by  none  of  the  other  Oriental  com- 
munions found  in  Palestine.  There  are  various 
restrictions  in  the  Greek  canon  law  on  the  subject, 
which  are  intended  to  safeguard  it,  but  as  a 
matter  of  fact  there  is  no  great  difficulty  in  any- 
one obtaining  a  divorce,  and  T  have  known  several 
cases  of  people  being  remarried  even  without  that 


domestic  life  {continued). 

When  the  son  or  daughter  of  a  family  approaches 
a  marriageable  age,  the  parents  begin  to  set  about 
the  all -important  business  of  finding  a  suitable 
bride  or  bridegroom.  The  matter  is  almost  in- 
variably arranged  by  the  parents,  the  young  people 
having  no  voice  in  the  matter  ;  indeed,  it  would 
not  be  considered  proper  for  a  young  woman  to 
have  any  say  in  the  matter,  or  to  express  a 
preference  for  one  suitor  over  another.  The  only 
exception  to  this  rule  would  be  in  the  case  of  a 
man  who,  from  poverty,  had  been  unable  to  marry 
till  he  reached  middle  life,  or  who  had  no  male 
relations  to  arrange  the  matter  for  him. 

Where  the  father  is  dead,  the  eldest  brother, 
or,  failing  a  brother,  the  nearest  male  relation, 
has  the  disposal  of  a  girl's  hand.  In  the  Greek 
Church  the  prohibited  degrees  (within  which 
relations  may  not  marry)  are  much  wider  than 
in  the  Churches  of  Western  Christendom,  ex- 
tending to  cousins  several  times  removed,  and 
even  to  one  or  two  cases  where  there  is  no  blood 
relationship  at  all.     But  outside  these  prohibited 



degrees  relations  or  persons  of  the  same  house  or 
clan  are  held  to  have  a  first  claim  on  a  girl's  hand, 
and  it  would  sometimes  lead  to  serious  quarrels, 
and  even  to  possible  bloodshed,  were  this  claim 
ignored.  The  origin  of  this  custom  is  probably 
the  idea  underlying  certain  enactments  of  the 
Mosaic  law — viz.,  the  retention  of  property  in  the 
clan  or  tribe  (cf.  Num.  xxxvi.  1-12). 

The  preliminary  negotiations  are  sometimes  very 
lengthy.     If  a  man  wishes  to  get  a  bride  for  his 
son  from  another  family  or  village,  he  will  not  un- 
frequently  employ  one  or  more  intermediaries  to 
arrange  the  matter.     These  intermediaries  will  go 
to  the  house  of  the  girl  in  question  at  a  time  when 
some  of  the  men  of  the  family  are  sure  to  be  at 
home.     They  will   stand   about  the  door  till   the 
latter  notice  them,  and  invite  them  in,  according 
to    Eastern    custom,    with    the    word     TaffadhlCi 
(literally,  '  do  me  the  honour ').      They  will  then 
reply,  '  We  will  not   enter  unless  our  request   is 
granted.'     "  It    is    granted,'    reply    those    within ; 
whereon  the  men  enter.     When  they  are  seated, 
the  question   is   not   immediately  mentioned,  but 
when    the    customary   coffee    appears    they    say, 
'  We  will  not  drink  till  we  have  told  our  errand.' 
'  Speak,'  reply  the  hosts.     '  We  ask  your  daughter 
So-and-so  as  wife   to    So-and-so,'  say  the   guests. 
Sometimes,  if  the  match  be  manifestly  an  advan- 
tageous one   for  the  girl,  the  relations  say,  '  We 
agree  ;  take  her.'     More  often,  while  agreeing,  they 
require  time  to  arrange  preliminaries ;  and  even  if 
the  proposal  be  unacceptable,  it  is,  I  believe,  rarely 


if  ever  met  by  a  direct  refusal ;  but  in  the  subse- 
quent negotiations  some  condition  impossible  of 
fulfilment,  such  as  an  exorbitant  dowry,  is  required, 
which  puts  an  end  to  the  matter. 

The  preliminaries  having  been  satisfactorily 
settled,  the  betrothal  takes  place.  Among  the 
Christians  this  is  a  formal  public  announcement 
of  the  intended  marriage.  Friends  and  relations 
attend,  and  the  priest  comes  and  blesses  the 
betrothed  couple,  the  betrothal,  in  fact,  being  a 
religious  ceremony.  It  is  consequently  very  rare 
for  a  match  to  be  broken  off  when  once  this 
ceremony  has  taken  place.  It  may  be  considered 
as  the  Eastern  substitute  for  the  publication  of 
banns,  these  being  unknown  in  the  Oriental 
Churches,  and  the  wedding  may  take  place  any  day 
after  the  betrothal.  The  betrothal  may,  on  the 
other  hand,  be  an  informal  one  in  infancy,  and  I 
have  known  children  to  be  plighted  to  each  other 
in  their  cradles  by  their  parents,  and  the  promise 
thus  made  to  be  carried  out  when  they  grew  up. 

In  most  cases  the  girls  are  virtually  sold  by  their 
parents,  the  dowry  going  to  the  father,  and  it  is 
this  which  makes  the  birth  of  a  girl  so  much 
more  welcome  among  the  Fellahm  than  among 
the  towns-people,  where  the  dowry  does  not  go  to 
the  parents.  Considerable  sums  are  paid  for  girls 
who  are  good-looking,  well  connected,  or  clever  at 
any  of  the  Fellahm  industries.  Thus,  the  people 
of  the  village  of  El  Jib  (the  ancient  Gibeon),  near 
Jerusalem,  have  a  monopoly  of  the  manufacture  of 
a  kind  of  earthenware  cooking-pot.    The  work  is 


largely  done  by  the  women,  and  a  girl  who  is  clever 
at  this  will  fetch  a  dowry  of  seventy  or  eighty 
Napoleons  (£50  to  £60),  while  another,  who  has 
only  ordinary  abilities,  can  be  had  for  half  that 
sum.  As  a  rule,  the  bridegroom  has  to  borrow 
money  for  the  dowry  and  wedding  expenses,  and 
many  men  thus  saddle  themselves  with  debts  which 
are  a  burden  to  them  for  the  rest  of  their  lives.  In 
cases  where  a  man  has  little  or  no  money,  or  his 
credit  is  not  good  enough  to  enable  him  to  borrow 
sufficient  to  pay  the  dowry  of  an  unmarried  girl,  he 
will  marry  a  widow,  as  a  much  smaller  sum  is 
required  in  such  cases,  especially  if  she  have 

Another  device  is  not  unfrequently  resorted  to 
by  poor  people.  Yakub,  for  instance,  wants  to 
marry,  but  has  no  prospect  whatever  of  raising 
even  a  moderate  sum  of  money.  He  has,  however, 
an  unmarried  sister,  Latifeh,  so  he  looks  about  for 
a  family  similarly  circumstanced  to  his  own,  and 
finds  another  man,  Salameh,  who  is  also  desirous  of 
entering  the  married  state,  but  who,  like  Yakub,  is 
too  poor  to  do  so.  He,  too,  has  an  unmarried  sister, 
Zarifeh,  and  so  an  exchange  is  arranged  between 
the  two  families,  Yakub  marrying  Zarifeh,  and 
Salameh  Latifeh,  no  dowry  being  paid  on  either 

On  the  day  of  the  wedding,  if  the  bride  lives  at  a 
different  village  to  the  bridegroom,  the  villagers  go 
in  great  pomp,  especially  if  the  two  parties  belong- 
to  influential  families,  to  escort  her  to  the  bride- 
groom's  house.      Every   man   who   owns    or    can 


boiTOW  a  horse  rides  it  and  gallops  wildly  about. 
There  is  a  great  expenditure  of  gunpowder  on  such 
occasions,  and  curious  old-fashioned  weapons  of 
every  country  of  Europe,  and  of  almost  every 
period  since  the  invention  of  gunpowder,  are 
hunted  out  and  fired  off  at  frequent  intervals,  so 
that  at  a  distance  a  Westerner,  hearing  a  wedding- 
procession  for  the  first  time,  might  think  that  a 
miniature  battle  was  in  progress.  The  people  when 
using  modern  weapons  are  not  always  careful  to 
make  sure  that  they  have  only  blank  cartridges. 
On  one  occasion  I  was  riding  along  the  road  from 
Bethany  to  Jerusalem  as  a  wedding-procession  was 
making  its  way  down  the  Valley  of  Jehoshaphat  to 
the  village  of  Siloam.  The  usual  firing  was  going 
on,  and  a  bullet  from  a  rifle  whistled  just  over  my 
head ;  and  not  very  long  ago,  in  a  Christian  village 
near  Jerusalem,  a  young  man  standing  at  his  house 
door  to  watch  such  a  procession  was  accidentally 
shot  dead  by  one  of  the  party. 

Weddings  very  commonly  take  place  at  night 
(see  St.  Matt.  xxv.  1-13),  both  in  the  case  of 
Christians  and  Moslems.  The  wedding-ceremony 
is,  of  course,  where  they  are  Christians,  according 
to  the  rites  of  the  Church  to  which  they  belong. 
Before  this  takes  place  the  bridegroom  is  frequently 
placed  on  a  horse  and  escorted  round  the  village  by 
his  friends.  At  the  ceremony  the  bride  is  closely 
veiled,  no  one  being  allowed  to  see  her  face. 

In  the  case  of  Moslem  weddings,  all  preliminaries 
having  been  finished,  three  witnesses  go  to  the 
house  of  the  bride's  father :  the  latter  then  asks  the 


girl  before  the  witnesses,  ■  Whom  do  you  make 
your  representative  in  the  matter  of  your  marriage  ?' 
To  which  she  replies,  '  You,  father.'  This  question 
is  thus  asked  and  answered  three  times.  The  father 
and  witnesses  then  proceed  to  the  house  of  the 
Khatib,  when  the  latter  asks  the  father, '  Whom  do 
you  make  your  agent  (or  representative)  in  the 
matter  of  your  daughter's  marriage  V  You,' 
answers  the  man.  This  is  also  asked  three  times. 
They  all  then  go  to  the  bridegroom's  house,  and 
the  latter  stands,  hand  in  hand  with  the  father, 
before  the  Khatib.  The  Khatib  first  addresses 
the  father  and  asks  him  thrice,  '  Have  you, 
Mohammed,  given  Fatimeh,  the  daughter  of 
Mohammed,  to  Mustapha  to  be  her  lawful  husband 
according  to  the  belief  of  Abu  Hanifeh  ?'  The 
father,  each  time  the  question  is  asked,  replies, 
1 1  have  given  her.'  Then,  turning  to  the  bride- 
groom, the  Khatib  says,  '  Have  you,  Mustapha, 
taken  Fatimeh,  the  daughter  of  Mohammed,  to  be 
her  lawful  husband  according  to  the  belief  of  Abu 
Hanifeh  ?'  This  is  also  asked  thrice,  the  bridegroom 
each  time  replying, *  I  have  taken  her.'  The  Khatib 
then  reads  the  Fatihah,  or  opening  chapter  of  the 
Koran,  and  the  ceremony  is  over. 

A  feast  generally  takes  place  on  the  evening  of 
the  wedding,  and  the  invited  guests  have  to  bring 
presents  ;  a  list  of  these  and  of  their  value  is 
made,  and  when  there  is  a  wedding  in  the  family 
of  any  of  the  donors,  the  bridegroom  of  this  occasion 
has  to  give  a  present  of  similar  value. 

The  women  of  the  village  gather  at  the  house 


where  the  wedding  takes  place,  and  dance.  This  is 
scarcely  what  we  understand  by  the  term,  but  it 
has  a  great  fascination  for  the  Fellahat,  and  many 
of  them  will  neglect  everything  for  it  when  there 
happens  to  be  a  wedding  going  on.  1  need  hardly 
say  that  the  promiscuous  dancing  of  Europe  is 
quite  unknown  in  Palestine,  and  would  be  con- 
sidered, to  say  the  least,  highly  improper.  The 
men  and  women  form  different  groups,  and  the 
dances  consist  of  rhythmical  movements  of  the 
body  by  each  dancer,  singly  or  holding  each 
others'  hands  ;  this  accompanied  by  clapping  of 
hands  and  singing,  which  latter  consists  of  the 
constant  repetition  on  one  or  two  notes  of  a  few 
words,  often  foolish,  and  sometimes  worse.  At 
a  wedding  I  once  witnessed  in  a  village,  the 
dancers,  for  half  an  hour  or  more,  repeated  without 
intermission  the  words,  ■  Oh,  coffee-maker,  put  up 
your  cups  and  coffee.'  I  have  also  seen  a  kind  of 
sword-dance  performed  at  a  wedding.  In  this  case 
a  large  fire  was  lighted  at  night  in  the  centre  of  an 
open  space  in  the  village.  All  the  people  were 
gathered  in  a  wide  ring  round  the  fire,  and  in  the 
space  between,  a  sister  of  the  bride,  gorgeously 
dressed,  performed  a  dance,  holding  a  drawn 
sword  in  one  hand,  and  posturing  and  side- 
ling about  in  stiff,  ungraceful  attitudes,  the  men 
accompanying  her  movements  with  hand-clapping 
and  shouting.  Occasionally,  I  believe,  the  bride 
herself  will  come  out  and  dance,  but  I  have  never 
myself  seen  this  done.  I  have,  however,  seen  a 
sort  of  effigy  of  the  bride  called  Zarufe/i,  consisting 



of  some  of  her  clothes  stuffed  with  straw  in  the 
form  of  a  person,  fastened  to  a  pole,  and  carried  by 
a  man  who  makes  it  appear  to  dance  in  the  midst 
of  the  wedding-guests. 

AVhen  the  bride  comes  to  her  husband's  house, 
she  has,  before  entering,  to  place  a  piece  of  leavened 
dough  on  the  doorpost.  This  act  is  a  wish  that 
as  the  leaven  placed  in  a  mass  of  dough  increases 
till  the  whole  of  the  mass  is  leavened,  so  she  may 
have  a  numerous  family,  and  by  her  the  clan  may 
grow  and  be  increased.  With  the  same  idea  she 
must  go  early  the  following  morning  and  draw  water, 
wearing  under  the  outer  garment  a  white  garment 
with  the  edge  frayed  out,  the  many  threads  typify- 
ing a  numerous  posterity.  Another  custom  is  that 
of  placing  on  the  bride's  head  a  jar  of  water,  which 
she  is  to  carry  thus  into  the  house,  the  idea  being, 
probably,  that  of  doing  her  part  of  the  household 
work.  If  she  be  too  tall  to  pass  under  the  doorway 
with  the  jar  on  her  head,  an  egg  is  substituted  for  it. 

A  bride  is  often  carried  over  the  threshold  that 
her  feet  may  not  touch  it,  to  do  so  being  considered 

It  is  said  that  as  a  Druze  bride  enters  her  hus- 
band's door  he  gives  her  a  smart  blow  with  a  stick, 
to  show  that  she  is  under  his  rule  and  authority. 

In  some  parts  of  the  country  neither  bride  nor 
bridegroom  may  cross  a  stream  for  a  period  of 
seven  days  after  the  wedding,  as  this  would  be 
most  unlucky,  and  would  mean  the  cutting  off  of 
the  succession,  the  Arabic  idiom  for  crossing  a 
stream  being  that  of  cutting  it. 


There  are  various  superstitions  connected  with 
weddings.  Thus,  among  Moslems  the  marriage 
ceremony  is  conducted  very  quietly,  and  in  the 
presence  of  as  few  people  as  possible,  as,  if  anyone 
should  be  there  who  is  unfavourable  to  the  match, 
it  is  thought  that  he  has  the  power  to  hinder  the 
happiness  of  the  married  couple  by  various  acts. 
Thus,  smoking  during  the  ceremony  is  considered 
to  destroy  all  happiness,  and  strewing  flour  or 
earth  on  the  floor  at  the  time  buries  it  completely. 

Sometimes  at  the  last  moment  the  parents  or  re- 
lations will  change  their  minds,  and  give  the  girl  to 
some  other  man  than  the  one  she  had  been  betrothed 
to.  Thus  one  of  their  proverbs  runs,  '  The  bride  is 
in  her  chamber,  but  no  one  knows  whose  she  will 
be ' ;  and  another  is,  '  One  was  betrothed  to  her,  but 
the  other  married  her.'  I  knew  of  a  case  where  a 
young  couple  were  betrothed  to  each  other  and 
everything  was  settled :  the  marriage-day  came, 
and  all  was  in  readiness,  and  just  before  the  time 
for  the  ceremony  to  take  place  the  bridegroom, 
according  to  a  common  custom,  went  to  have  a 
bath.  When  he  came  to  the  house,  he  found  that 
during  the  short  time  he  had  been  absent  the 
father  had  changed  his  mind,  and  had  already 
married  the  bride  to  another  man.  Such  actions, 
however,  are  considered  rather  a  disgrace,  and  in 
some  cases  will  lead  to  serious  quarrels,  and  even 
to  bloodshed. 

Many  of  the  women  are  extensively  tattooed  in 
various  patterns  on  the  back  of  the  hand,  wrist, 
forearm,    upper    part    of    the    chest,    and    face ; 



especially  is  this  the  case  among  the  women  east 
of  the  Jordan.  Some  of  them  even  tattoo  their 
lips,  but  this  disfiguring  custom  is,  as  far  as  I 
know,  confined  entirely  to  the  Moslem  women. 
It  is  only  those  with  fairer  skins  than  the  others 
who  do  this,  the  idea  being  that  it  shows  up  the 
clearness  and  whiteness  of  the  complexion,  thus 
enhancing  their  beauty.  Some  of  the  patterns  are 
very  elaborate,  and  must  take  a  long  time  to  do. 
The  tattooing  is  usually  done  by  gipsy  women,  who 
use  ordinary  ink  to  rub  into  the  pattern,  which  is 
of  permanent  dark  blue.  Although  chiefly  seen  in 
the  case  of  women,  it  is  not  by  any  means  confined 
to  them. 

The  life  of  a  newly-married  girl,  where  families 
live  together,  is  often  a  very  hard  one.  She  is 
usually  in  such  cases  little  else  than  the  slave  of 
her  mother-in-law,  and  this  is  a  frequent  cause  of 
quarrels  and  unhappiness,  especially,  perhaps,  among 
the  Christians.  There  is  usually  but  little  love 
between  mother-in-law  and  daughter-in-law,  and 
the  former  often  behave  most  tyrannically  towards 
their  sons'  wives,  remembering,  no  doubt,  what 
they  suffered  in  their  early  married  life,  just  as  the 
former  slave  makes  the  most  cruel  slave-driver. 
This  is  reflected  in  their  proverbs  ;  one  of  these,  in 
which  the  mother-in-law  is  supposed  to  address  her 
daughter-in-law,  runs,  '  Don't  eat  what  is  broken 
nor  break  what  is  whole,  and  eat  till  you  are 
satisfied  ';  while  another  declares  that  '  were  the 
mother-in-law  to  love  her  daughter-in-law,  dogs 
would  enter  Paradise.' 


domestic  life  (continued) 

The  life  of  the  women  is  not  an  easy  one,  and 
their  work  begins  when  they  are  quite  young.  In 
the  early  morning  a  woman  rises  to  grind  the  corn 
for  the  day's  supply  of  bread,  and  the  grinding 
goes  on  at  intervals  throughout  the  day.  This 
work  is  very  severe,  especially  where  there  are 
many  mouths  to  feed,  and  in  the  villages  one  hears 
the  hum  of  the  millstones  early  in  the  morning, 
long  before  daybreak,  and  far  on  into  the  night 
also.  A  strong  woman  once  told  me  that  it  took 
her  five  hours  every  day  to  grind  the  corn  for  her 
family,  which  was  not  a  particularly  large  one. 
This  hum  of  the  millstones  is  exceedingly  character- 
istic of  the  villages,  so  much  so  that  the  Fellahin 
have  a  special  word  for  it.  There  are  allusions 
to  it  both  in  the  Old  and  New  Testaments ;  thus, 
the  sound  of  the  grinding  being  low  would  be  an 
indication  of  weakness  and  old  age  (Eccles.  xii.  4)  ; 
while  to  an  Oriental  no  more  striking  figure  of 
absolute  desolation  could  be  imagined  than  that 
1  the  sound  of  a  millstone  shall  be  heard  no  more 
at  all  in  thee'  (Rev.  xviii.  22). 



The  hand-mills  which  are  used  for  this  purpose 
have  two  flat  circular  stones,  the  upper  and  the 
nether  millstones.  These  stones  are  made  of  a 
hard  black  basalt  which  is  brought  from  the 
volcanic  district  of  the  Lejah  (Trachonitis),  near 
the  borders  of  the  Hauran,  the  ancient  Bashan. 
They  are  from  15  to  18  inches  in  diameter  and 
very  heavy.  The  lower  stone  has  a  small  hole  in 
the  centre  into  which  a  wooden  plug  is  firmly 
driven,  and  in  this  plug  an  iron  pin  is  fixed,  to 
serve  as  a  pivot,  on  which  the  upper  stone  turns. 
This  latter  has  an  aperture  of  two  or  three  inches 
in  the  middle,  and  across  this  a  piece  of  hard  wood 
is  fixed  by  means  of  a  slot  in  the  upper  surface 
of  the  stone,  a  hole  in  it  admitting  the  above- 
mentioned  pivot.  A  small  space  is  thus  left  on 
either  side  of  this  piece  of  wood,  through  which 
the  corn  is  fed.  Near  the  edge  of  the  upper  stone 
is  fixed  the  wooden  handle  by  which  the  mill  is 
turned.  Sometimes  the  lower  stone  is  bedded  in 
an  oblong  clay  vessel,  one  half  of  which  is  lower 
than  the  other,  the  millstones  occupying  the  upper 
part,  the  lower  being  a  receptacle  for  the  flour. 
Where  this  is  not  used,  a  cloth  is  spread  on  the 
ground,  and  on  th;s  the  mill  is  placed,  the  flour 
gradually  collecting  in  a  ring  round  it. 

In  grinding,  the  woman  sits  on  the  floor  with 
outstretched  feet,  and  the  mill  between  her  knees ; 
she  has  a  basket  of  corn  beside  her,  and,  as  she 
turns  the  handle,  puts  at  intervals  a  handful  of 
grain  into  the  hole  of  the  upper  stone,  generally 
crooning  a  mournful  song  as  she  works.     A  second 



Tofacepagi  lis. 


woman  often  helps,  squatting  on  the  ground 
opposite  her  companion,  and  turning  the  handle  at 
the  same  time.  This  helps  one  to  realize  the 
startling  suddenness  of  the  call  (St.  Matt.  xxiv.  41) 
when,  of  two  thus  sitting  face  to  face  over  the 
same  household  task,  hand  touching  hand,  one  will 
be  gone  and  the  other  left  alone. 

We  see  the  humanity  of  the  prohibition  (Deut. 
xxiv.  6)  of  taking  a  millstone  to  pledge,  when  we 
realize  that  the  poorest  family  must  have  a  mill, 
with  whatever  else  of  household  furniture  they 
may  dispense,  and  that  the  loss  of  it  would  be 
practically  starvation. 

When  sufficient  flour  has  been  ground,  the  opera- 
tion of  bread-making  follows.  The  meal  is  often, 
but  not  invariably,  passed  through  a  sieve  ;  it  is  then 
mixed  with  salt  and  water,  and  kneaded  into  a  some- 
what stiff  dough,  in  which  state  it  is  taken  to  the 
oven  in  a  wooden  bowl.  Leaven  (yeast  is  unknown) 
is  occasionally  used,  and  in  that  case  the  dough 
has  to  be  made  some  hours  beforehand,  to  allow  it 
to  rise.  The  leaven,  which  is  in  the  form  of  a 
piece  of  sour  or  fermented  dough  from  a  previous 
baking,  is  kneaded  into  the  fresh  material,  which 
is  placed  in  a  warm  corner,  and  the  whole  is  ere 
long  leavened. 

The  oven  in  the  villages  consists  of  a  dome-shaped 
clay  vessel,  three  or  four  feet  in  diameter,  open  at 
its  broad  end,  and  having  a  hole  in  the  centre  of 
the  dome  large  enough  to  easily  admit  a  woman's 
hand  and  arm.  It  might  be  compared  to  a  very 
large,    shallow,    inverted   basin,    with   the   bottom 


knocked  out.  This  is  placed  on  a  pavement  of 
small  stones,  and  has  a  lid  to  cover  the  aperture 
while  the  bread  is  baking.  This  oven  is  made  in  a 
small  hut  built  for  the  purpose,  seven  or  eight  feet 
in  diameter,  and  about  five  or  six  feet  high  in  the 
middle.  These  ovens  are  a  favourite  meeting-place 
for  the  women  of  the  village  in  cold  or  wet  weather, 
and  at  such  times  they  will  often  spend  hours  there. 

When  the  fire  has  been  lit,  and  the  oven  is 
warm  enough,  the  dough  is  made  into  flat  cakes 
about  the  size  of  a  dinner-plate,  and  about  half  an 
inch  thick ;  it  is  then  laid  on  the  paved  floor  of  the 
oven  or  made  to  adhere  to  the  clay  vessel,  being 
turned  when  sufficiently  done  on  one  side. 

The  fire  is  made  outside  the  oven,  and  when  the 
dough  has  been  placed  inside  the  lid  is  put  on,  and 
the  ashes  heaped  up  over  it  to  keep  in  the  warmth, 
and  to  allow  the  fuel  to  smoulder,  a  gentle  sustained 
heat  being  the  best  for  the  purpose. 

The  fuel  consists  chiefly  of  dried  cows'  and  goats' 
dung,  which  is  carefully  collected  and  stored  for 
the  purpose.  The  use  of  this  fuel  is  of  very  ancient 
origin,  as  we  see  from  Ezek.  iv.  12,  and  the  custom 
in  Palestine  to-day  shows  how  the  prophet  would 
understand  the  command.  Sometimes  this  fuel  is 
used  in  its  natural  condition,  but  it  is  generally 
prepared  by  being  moistened  with  water,  mixed 
with  straw,  and  made  into  cakes,  which  are  dried 
and  stored  for  winter  use.  For  this  purpose  they 
employ  the  coarser  parts  of  the  straw  from  the 
threshing-floors,  viz.,  the  joints  and  lower  parts  of 
the  stalks. 


It  is  usual  at  the  present  day  for  several  families 
to  share  an  oven,  each  one  providing  the  fuel  for  a 
day  in  turn.  The  reason  of  this  is  the  poverty  of 
the  people,  and  their  consequent  inability  to  get 
fuel.  Four  or  five  families  usually  join  together 
now,  and  for  ten  women  to  bake  their  bread  in  one 
oven  (Lev.  xxvi.  26)  would  be  an  indication  of 
abject  poverty.  There  is  a  regular  rotation  in  the 
use  of  the  oven,  the  woman  whose  turn  it  is  to 
provide  the  fuel  being  the  last  to  bake  her  bread 
on  that  particular  day.  The  idea  in  this  is  that 
if  she  used  the  oven  earlier,  she  would,  her  own 
baking  finished,  in  order  to  save  her  fuel,  let 
the  fire  get  too  low  to  do  the  rest  of  the  bread 
properly,  whereas,  baking  last  of  all,  it  is  to  her 
interest  to  keep  up  a  good  fire  to  the  end.  In  cases 
where  a  man  is  sufficiently  well  off  to  own  a  number 
of  cattle,  and  has,  consequently,  plenty  of  fuel,  he 
will  have  an  oven  to  himself. 

In  some  parts  of  the  country  another  kind  of 
bread  is  made,  closely  resembling  the  thin  oatcake 
of  Scotland  and  the  North  of  England.  This  is 
prepared  somewhat  differently  from  the  other  ;  the 
dough  is  less  tenacious,  and  it  is  baked,  not  in  an 
oven,  but  on  a  convex  circular  plate  of  iron,  heated 
by  a  fire  of  sticks  below.  The  large  thin  sheets  of 
dough  are  laid  for  a  few  moments  on  this  pan,  and 
very  quickly  cooked. 

Bread  is  usually  made  of  wheat  flour,  but  failing 
this  the  poor  often  use  that  made  from  the  white 
millet,  and  even  from  barley,  or  they  mix  herbs  and 
other  things  with  it  in  times  of  scarcity. 


Bread  constitutes  the  chief  food  of  the  people, 
being  eaten  either  alone,  as  in  the  case  of  the  very- 
poor,  or  with  a  few  figs,  olives,  or  some  other  relish, 
in  other  cases. 

A  great  many  wild  plants  are  eaten,  which  the 
poor  dig  up  in  the  fields  in  the  spring  ;  the  mallow 
is  the  principal  of  these,  as  it  was  in  the  time  of 
Job,  3,500  years  ago  (Job  xxx.  4).  I  have,  indeed, 
known  of  a  whole  family,  in  a  time  of  great  scarcity 
and  poverty,  subsisting  for  many  weeks  on  mallows 
alone.  They  are  cut  off  at  the  roots  and  boiled. 
They  are  also  mixed  with  flour  to  eke  out  the 
latter,  and  baked  into  bread. 

Among  the  more  sedentary  occupations  of  the 
women  is  that  of  cleaning  the  corn.  The  various 
processes  described  under  threshing  and  winnowing 
leave  a  good  deal  of  rubbish  mixed  up  with  the  grain, 
such  as  tiny  stones  and  hard  nodules  of  earth  from 
the  threshing-floor,  seeds  of  weeds  and  other  plants, 
and  light  and  undeveloped  grain,  all  of  which  have 
to  be  carefully  separated  from  the  corn  before  it 
can  be  ground.  This  is  partly  done  by  a  sieve, 
which  allows  the  smaller  impurities  to  pass  through, 
but  the  larger  foreign  bodies  have  to  be  picked  out 
by  hand  or  removed  by  sifting.  This  is  effected 
by  shaking  the  sieve  with  a  peculiar  circular  motion, 
which  gradually  collects  the  light  grains,  bits  of 
straw,  seeds,  etc.,  to  one  spot  at  the  side  furthest 
from  the  woman  holding  it,  when  by  a  dexterous 
jerk  they  are  all  thrown  out,  and  the  corn  left 
clean.  The  reference  in  Amos  ix.  9  is  to  this 
cleansing  process,  whereas  in  St.  Luke  xxii.  31  the 


sifting  was  to  be  that  of  temptation,  which  Satan 
hoped  would  prove  the  Apostles  to  be  but  light 
grain,  and  therefore  rejected. 

After  the  grinding  of  the  corn  is  over,  other 
domestic  duties  will  claim  the  housewife's  attention  ; 
one  of  these  is  washing  the  family  clothes.  This,  in 
order  to  save  the  trouble  of  fetching  water,  is  gener- 
ally done  at  the  spring  or  near  the  well.  Cold  water 
is  almost  invariably  employed  by  the  peasants,  and  in 
the  winter  and  spring  they  often  take  advantage  of 
pools  left  by  the  rain  in  various  spots,  to  get  rid  of 
arrears  of  washing.  On  such  occasions  they  generally 
go  in  considerable  numbers,  and  a  great  deal  of  gossip 
and  scandal  goes  on,  if  we  judge  by  the  proverb  :  '  It 
is  better  to  sit  between  two  funerals  than  between 
two  washerwomen.' 

Soap  is  but  sparingly  used,  wood  ashes,  a  kind  ot 
sandy  clay,  and  sometimes  the  maiden-hair  fern, 
which  is  very  abundant  in  damp  places,  taking  its 
place  very  largely.  The  wet  garments  are  also 
beaten  well  with  a  heavy  piece  of  wood,  a  process 
which  drives  the  water  forcibly  through  the  pores 
of  the  material,  and  no  doubt  aids  considerably  in 
the  cleansing  process. 

Matches  are  pretty  generally  used  now  by  the 
people  for  obtaining  a  light,  but  flint  and  steel  are 
still  by  no  means  uncommon,  and  are  frequently 
used  by  men  for  producing  fire  for  their  pipes. 
The  first  matches  were  brought  to  the  village  of 
Bir  Zeit,  already  mentioned,  many  years  ago  by  a 
young  man.  He  had  had  occasion  to  go  to  Lydd 
in  the  maritime  plain,  and   in   the   market   there 


saw  matches  for  the  first  time.  They  were  then 
sold  singly,  or  two  for  a  small  coin  in  value  rather 
less  than  a  farthing ;  so  the  young  man  invested  in 
eight  of  them,  and  the  next  day,  on  his  return 
home,  he  gathered  all  the  men  of  the  village  in  the 
evening  in  the  guest-house,  and  having  told  them 
about  the  matches,  he  produced  the  eight,  and 
solemnly  struck  them  one  after  another  in  their 
presence,  to  their  great  surprise  and  wonder. 

As  a  rule  the  women  cook  pretty  well,  consider- 
ing the  roughness  and  fewness  of  their  utensils. 
The  Fellahin  have  ordinarily  only  one  regular  meal 
in  the  day — viz.,  that  in  the  evening.  If  food  is 
taken  at  other  times,  it  is  a  piece  of  bread  only,  a 
few  figs,  a  bunch  of  grapes,  or  a  cup  of  coffee. 
They  have  no  meal  corresponding  to  our  break- 
fast, and  often  go  to  their  day's  work  without  eating 
anything ;  this  fact  will  explain  our  Blessed  Lord's 
hunger  when,  after,  perhaps,  a  night  spent  in  prayer, 
He  sought  fruit  on  the  barren  fig-tree,  although 
He  had  just  come  from  the  house  of  the  hospitable 
Martha  (St.  Matt.  xxi.  17-19).  1  was  riding  out 
one  afternoon  to  a  village,  several  hours' journey  from 
Jerusalem,  and  about  halfway  overtook  a  peasant. 
After  a  little  conversation,  he  asked  me  if  I  had 
any  bread  with  me,  as  he  had  walked  into  the  city 
that  morning  from  a  place  some  twenty-five  miles 
distant,  had  transacted  his  business  there,  and  had 
now  got  about  halfway  back,  no  food  having  passed 
his  lips  since  his  supper  the  previous  evening. 

As  the  afternoon  begins  to  wane,  the  Fellahah 
will  begin  her  preparations  for  the  evening  meal. 

DIET  125 

If  the  family  be  well  enough  off  to  have  rice,  or 
if  guests  be  expected,  she  will  take  two  or  three 
handfuls  of  that  grain  from  the  jar  in  which  it  is 
stored,  and,  after  carefully  washing  it,  will  place  it 
in  a  tinned  copper  vessel  without  handles,  and  set 
it  to  cook  over  a  fire  of  sticks  between  two  stones 
in  a  corner  of  the  courtyard  of  the  house,  or,  if 
the  weather  be  wet,  over  a  small  fire  of  char- 
coal in  a  little  clay  brazier  inside  the  house. 
Perhaps  some  meat,  with  tomatoes,  onions,  or  other 
vegetables,  will  be  set  on  to  cook  in  another  pot, 
or  the  vegetables  alone  ;  for  every  family,  however 
poor,  tries  to  have  a  little  '  cooking '  for  the  evening 
meal — that  is,  a  hot  dish,  even  if  only  boiled  vege- 
tables or  herbs,  into  which  to  dip  the  dry  bread. 
Lentils  are  a  very  favourite  article  of  diet,  and 
where  people  are  too  poor  to  get  meat  for  a  festival, 
or  other  occasion  of  rejoicing,  they  at  least  try  to 
have  a  dish  of  this  vegetable.  The  meat  is  usually 
boiled,  but  sometimes  at  a  feast  they  roast  it ; 
fowls,  too,  are  occasionally  split  open  and  roasted 
in  the  oven  where  the  bread  is  baked. 

The  supper  is  eaten  soon  after  sunset,  all  those 
present  partaking  together,  if  not  too  many  to  do 
so  at  one  time,  but  if  too  numerous  they  do  so  in 
relays.  When  the  food  is  ready,  if  there  are  many 
people,  a  large  bowl  or  dish  is  filled  with  Bti/rghal 
(cracked  wheat)  or  boiled  rice,  should  the  family 
be  comfortably  off ;  the  meat,  if  any,  is  placed  on 
the  rice,  and  the  gravy,  in  which  there  is  always 
salt,  is  poured  over  it,  or  placed  in  small  bowls  for 
the  people  to  help  themselves  as  they  please.     If 


there  be  no  meat,  Lcbcn  (sour  milk)  or  boiled  vege- 
tables are  served  in  separate  vessels  with  it,  to 
moisten  and  give  a  flavour  to  the  rice.  At  a  feast 
both  meat  and  vegetables  will  be  used. 

The  tray  or  dish  is  placed  in  the  middle  of  the 
floor,  and  loaves  of  bread  are  put  round  it.  Having 
previously  washed  their  hands,  the  guests,  or 
members  of  the  family,  squat  round  the  bowl,  and 
as  they  plunge  their  hands  into  the  mass,  if  Moslems, 
they  say  '  BismiUah*  (In  the  name  of  God);  if 
Christians,  they  use  some  other  formula  showing 
their  creed.  They  take  up  lumps  of  food  with 
the  right  hand  (it  not  being  proper  to  use  the  left, 
more  especially  among  the  Moslems),  adroitly  rolling 
up  the  rice  or  wheat  with  the  fingers  so  as  not  to 
drop  any  grains  on  the  way  to  the  mouth.  Spoons 
are  coming  more  and  more  into  use,  especially 
among  those  who  have  come  much  into  contact 
with  Europeans.  Large  draughts  of  water  are 
drunk,  but  only  towards  the  end  of  the  meal.  If 
there  are  guests,  especially  if  any  of  them  be  of 
honourable  estate,  the  master  of  the  house  waits  on 
them  while  they  eat,  and  however  good  the  food 
may  be,  or  however  abundant,  he  usually  apologizes 
for  the  poor  supper  he  has  offered  them,  and  urges 
them  to  eat  more.  When  they  have  finished,  he 
and  the  family,  or  the  less-distinguished  guests, 
take  their  places  round  the  bowl.  Should  no 
strangers  be  present  the  whole  household  eats  to- 
gether, but  if  there  are  male  guests  the  women  do 
not  eat  with  them,  but  have  their  meal  afterwards 
in  another  room.    After  eating  the  hands  are  washed 


again  with  soap  and  water,  the  water  being  poured 
over  the  hands  by  a  servant  or  one  of  the  family 
(see  2  Kings  hi.  11).  In  the  case  of  guests  the 
host  will  often  perform  this  office  for  them,  handing 
them  a  towel  or  cloth  with  which  to  wipe  the 
hands  after  washing.  Supper  over,  pipes  are  lit 
and  unsweetened  coffee  handed  round. 

When  the  Fellahin  are  on  a  journey  or  out  at 
work  in  the  fields,  they  content  themselves  with 
dry  bread  eaten  with  a  few  figs,  raisins,  or  such 
like,  to  give  flavour  to  this  otherwise  tasteless  fare. 
The  two  little  fishes  which  the  lad,  probably  a 
shepherd-boy,  had  with  his  five  barley  loaves  that 
spring  day  by  the  Sea  of  Galilee,  when  Jesus  fed 
the  five  thousand,  were,  as  the  Greek  (Suo  oxpapia, 
St.  John  vi.  9)  shows,  food  of  this  latter  kind — two 
of  the  tiny  dried  fish,  plentiful  then  as  to-day, 
and  cheap  enough  for  one  even  as  poor  as  he  to 

The  men  smoke  a  great  deal  of  tobacco  in  small 
pipes  of  reddish-brown  clay,  with  wooden  stems, 
varying  in  length  from  a  few  inches  to  three  or 
four  feet.  These  pipes  are,  however,  being  largely 
supplanted  by  cigarettes,  the  papers  for  making 
them  being  imported  in  little  books  or  packets, 
and  sold  everywhere.  The  nargileh,  or  hubble- 
bubble,  is  also  much  smoked,  by  women  as  well 
as  men,  a  special  kind  of  tobacco,  imported  from 
Persia,  being  used.  It  is  customary  to  offer  these 
to  the  principal  guests  on  the  occasion  of  formal 
visits,  as  at  funerals,  weddings,  etc. 

But  the  woman's  work  does  not  end  with  the 


more  strictly  domestic  labours  we  have  already 
described.  Drawing  water  has  ever  been  in  the 
East  essentially  a  woman's  work,  and  in  the  early 
morning  and  evening,  especially,  the  women  and 
girls  go  down  to  the  fountains  or  wells  to  fetch 
the  supply  for  the  house.  This  is  brought  in 
earthenware  jars  containing  1  to  2  gallons,  or 
in  water-skins,  the  former  being  carried  on  the 
head,  and  the  latter  slung  on  the  back  by  a  cord 
passing  over  the  forehead.  The  water  when  brought 
is  emptied  into  a  large  earthen  jar  standing  in 
one  corner  of  the  room.  In  cases,  which  are  very 
numerous,  where  the  village  is  on  a  high  hill  a  long 
distance  from  the  water-supply,  this  work  is  very 
arduous,  and  must  tend  to  shorten  the  lives  of  the 

Bringing  the  supply  of  firewood  is  another  duty 
which  falls  to  the  lot  of  the  women,  and  entails 
severe  labour.  In  some  districts  the  firewood  is 
obtained  from  scrub  some  miles  distant,  and  parties 
of  women  and  girls  may  be  met,  bearing  on  their 
heads  long,  heavy  faggots  of  boughs  of  oak,  tere- 
binth, arbutus,  etc.  In  other  parts,  where  no  scrub 
or  wood  is  found,  they  collect  bundles  of  the  Netesh 
thorn,  or  the  white-flowered  broom,  called  Retem, 
the  'juniper'  of  1  Kings  xix.  5  (the  Arabic  and 
Hebrew  names  for  the  plant  being  the  same),  a 
shrub  very  characteristic  of  the  comparatively  upper 
slopes  of  the  hills  leading  down  to  the  Jordan  Valley. 
In  the  maritime  plain  and  other  parts,  where  the 
dhurra,  or  white  millet  {Sorghum  vulgare),  is  much 
grown,  the  dry  stalks  left  in  the  fields  after  the  ripe 



To  face  page  128. 


ears  have  been  cut  off  are  collected  and  stacked 
about  their  houses  for  use  as  fuel  in  the  winter- 

The  women  all  know  something  of  needlework, 
and  some  of  them  are  very  skilful  at  it.  The 
ordinary  work,  such  as  is  required  in  making  their 
everyday  clothes,  does  not  call  for  remark  ;  but 
some  of  the  gala  dresses  are  very  handsome,  with 
much  fine  needlework  on  them.  The  veil  worn 
over  the  head  by  the  women  of  some  villages  has 
this  kind  of  work  in  it.  These  veils  are  made  of 
a  very  coarse  kind  of  native  cotton  cloth,  and  are 
worked  with  various  patterns  and  devices  in  coloured 
cottons  and  silks.  This  work  much  resembles 
that  of  the  old-fashioned  «  samplers,'  which  I  can 
remember  seeing,  in  my  boyish  days,  old  women 
making  in  some  rural  districts  of  England,  and 
which  may  still  be  occasionally  seen  framed  and 
hung  up  in  country  cottages.  Some  of  the  devices 
on  these  veils  are  very  elaborate. 

In  some  of  the  gala  dresses  worn  by  the  peasant 
women  there  is  in  front  a  piece  of  elaborate  needle- 
work in  various  colours,  of  which  the  accompanying 
photograph  will  give  some  idea.  This  takes  a  long 
time  to  make,  and  girls  who  are  betrothed  busy 
themselves  for  months  before  the  wedding  in  work- 
ing at  these  dresses,  which  are  often  worth  a 
considerable  sum  of  money. 

The  women  generally  are  very  fond  of  fancy 
needlework,  and  the  teaching  of  it  in  mission-schools 
is  one  of  the  best  ways  of  attracting  otherwise 
unwilling  scholars.     In   the  Lebanon  the  women 



used  to  be  very  skilful  in  a  fine  kind  of  embroidery, 
or  needlework,  on  a  thin,  light  material.  These 
embroidered  veils  or  scarves  were  reversible — that 
is  to  say,  there  was  no  wrong  side,  the  pattern 
being  so  cleverly  worked  that  it  was  the  same  on 
both  sides  of  the  material.  Beautiful  specimens  of 
this  work  can  be  occasionally  met  with  still,  and  they 
command  high  prices.  The  spoils  of  needlework  of 
divers  colours  on  both  sides,  which  Sisera's  mother 
pictured  her  triumphant  son  as  bringing  back 
with  him  after  the  battle  with  Barak  and  Israel 
(Judg.  v.  30),  may  very  likely  have  been  work  of 
this  description. 

The  Fellahat  are  very  fond  of  ornament,  and, 
where  they  can  afford  it,  wear  a  great  deal  of 
jewellery.  On  their  wrists  and  arms  they  have 
heavy  bracelets,  and  on  their  fingers  thick  clumsy 
rings.  These  ornaments  are  made  of  silver,  but 
most  of  it  has  a  high  percentage  of  alloy.  In  addi- 
tion to  these  bracelets  and  other  ornaments  they 
wear  rows  of  coins  on  their  head-dresses.  The 
original  object  of  this  latter  custom,  and  also,  no 
doubt,  partly  of  that  of  wearing  jewellery,  was  the 
safe  custody  of  their  money.  It  is  only  of  recent 
years  that  there  have  been  any  banks  in  Palestine, 
and  these,  of  course,  have  been  confined  to  the  few 
towns  ;  and  even  where  they  have  existed,  their 
management  has  by  no  means  been  always  such  as 
to  inspire  the  natives  of  the  country  with  confidence. 
Consequently  women  have  for  ages  invested  their 
money  in  jewellery,  or  put  it  on  their  head-dress, 
which  neither  a  creditor  nor  the  Government  could 


touch,  though  the  woman  herself  could  use  it. 
One  of  the  commonest  methods  of  raising  money 
is  for  a  woman  to  pledge  her  ornaments,  and 
no  disgrace  whatever  attaches  to  such  a  trans- 



domestic  life  {continued) 

Lebex,  or  sour  or  curdled  milk,  has  been  mentioned 
more  than  once.  This  is  made  chiefly  in  the  spring, 
when,  owing  to  the  abundance  of  pasture,  milk  is 
plentiful.  It  closely  resembles  our  curds  and  whey, 
and  is  made  by  the  women  by  putting  into  the 
fresh  milk  either  some  old  dried  Leben,  kept  for  the 
purpose,  or  else  rennet  made  from  the  stomach  of  a 
kid,  and  not  from  the  calf,  as  with  us.  The  Arabic 
name  Leben  is  given  it  on  account  of  its  whiteness, 
and  is  from  the  same  root  as  the  word  '  Lebanon.' 
that,  again,  being  applied  to  the  two  mountain 
ranges  bearing  that  name  because  of  their  spotless 
brilliancy  when  covered  with  the  snows  of  winter. 
It  is,  when  clean  and  properly  made,  very  nice,  the 
slightly  acid  taste  being  peculiarly  grateful  to  a  hot 
and  tired  person  in  that  warm  climate,  and  is  said 
to  have  in  such  circumstances  a  soporific  effect. 

Cheese  is  also  made  in  a  similar  manner  by 
means  of  rennet,  and  pressed  into  small  hard  cakes, 
something  like  our  cream  cheeses,  but  firmer  and 
not  so  rich. 

Churning  butter  is   another   occupation  of  the 



women,  chiefly  in  the  spring  and  early  .summer. 
The  milk  is  put  into  a  large  skin,  similar  to  those 
used  for  carrying  water  ;  this  is  then  suspended  be- 
tween the  legs  of  a  tripod  of  sticks.     Two  women 
usually  do  the  work  of  churning  by  pushing  the 
skin  backwards  and  forwards  between  them  ;  the 
splashing  about  of  the  milk  in  the  skin,  which  must 
not  be  filled  too  full,  gradually  separates  the  butter. 
Much  of  this  butter  is  not  used  as  such,  but  is 
clarified  by  heating  over  the  fire,  a  kind  of  saffron 
being  added  which  gives  it  a  yellow  tint,  and  a 
peculiar  flavour  very  distasteful  to  most  Europeans, 
but  to  which  one  gets  accustomed  after   a   time. 
This  clarified  butter,  or  Semaneh,  is  stored  in  jars 
or  skins  for  future  use,  being  largely  employed  in 
cookery   for  frying    meat,   eggs,   vegetables,   etc., 
and  for  mixing  with  the  boiled  rice.     Failing  this 
Semaneh,  the  fat  of  the  tail  of  the  Oriental  sheep  is 
much  used.     These  fat   tails,   common  to  several 
varieties   of  sheep  in    Syria,    Egypt,   Arabia,   and 
East    Africa,    are    considered    very    valuable    for 

But  besides  these  more  or  less  directly  domestic 
duties,  the  peasant  women  work  hard  in  other 
ways.  Many  of  the  Fellahin  make  their  living  by 
growing  fruit  and  vegetables  for  the  towns,  and 
most  mornings  of  the  week  crowds  of  Fellahat  may 
be  seen  coming  into  the  towns  carrying  on  their 
heads  baskets  of  radishes,  cauliflowers,  tomatoes, 
and  other  vegetables,  according  to  the  time  of 
year ;  or  grapes,  figs,  peaches,  apricots,  and  other 
fruit ;  also  fowls,  corn,  eggs,  jars  of  water,  skins  of 


vinegar,  and  bundles  of  grass  or  green  barley. 
Not  only  do  they  come  thus  from  the  nearer 
villages,  but  often  even  from  places  two,  three, 
and  four  hours'  distant.  They  squat  about  in  the 
narrow  street  of  the  town,  or  in  the  open  market- 
place, to  sell  their  wares,  the  baskets  on  the  ground 
before  them,  and  their  babies  in  their  laps,  or  hung 
up  in  their  bags,  asleep,  on  the  wall  behind.  It  is 
an  interesting  sight  to  see  these  women  come  into 
one  of  the  towns  on  a  bright  spring  morning  after, 
perhaps,  two  or  three  days  of  rain.  Here  is  a  group 
of  women,  laughing  and  chattering,  each  with  a 
heavy  basket  on  her  head ;  several  have  loads  of 
huge  pink  radishes,  larger  than  our  carrots,  with 
their  fresh  green  leaves ;  another  has  two  or  three 
large  cauliflowers,  which  would  make  a  Covent 
Garden  salesman  open  his  eyes  in  wonder — for,  in 
spite  of  the  curse  which  seems  to  rest  on  the  land, 
it  can  still  produce  marvels  in  the  way  of  fruits 
and  vegetables ;  yet  another  has  a  basketful  of 
fowls  (tied  by  their  legs),  which  now  and  then 
flutter  and  squall  in  their  vain  attempts  to  escape. 
A  little  behind  is  a  second  group  following  two 
or  three  men,  their  lords  and  masters,  who  stalk 
majestically  on  in  front,  carrying  only  guns  or 
clubs,  while  their  wives  meekly  follow  with  their 
heavy  baskets,  some  containing  billets  of  olive- 
wood  for  burning,  others  wheat,  with  a  few  eggs 
on  the  top  ;  while  another,  in  addition  to  a  load  of 
edible  snails,  has  her  baby  slung  at  her  back  in  a 
bag.  Having  disposed  of  their  wares  in  the  town, 
and    made   various   small  purchases,   they   set   off 


home  again ;  and  riding  back  to  the  city  in  the 
afternoon  one  meets  the  same  groups  one  saw 
in  the  morning,  now  returning  to  their  villages, 
their  baskets  on  their  heads  with  the  various  articles 
they  have  bought — a  few  yards  of  calico,  a  pair  of 
coarse  native  shoes,  a  little  tin  lamp  and  an  old 
wine-bottle  containing  petroleum,  a  box  or  two  of 
matches,  and  a  packet  of  tobacco  for  the  husband  ; 
or,  it  may  be,  a  sheep's  head  or  piece  of  tripe,  or 
some  such  dainty  to  eat  with  the  dry  bread  at  the 
evening  meal. 

Meanwhile  their  tongues  are  busy,  money  being 
almost  the  invariable  subject  of  their  conversation 
— -the  few  piastres  they  got  for  their  produce  in  the 
morning,  the  price  of  the  various  things  they  have 
bought,  or  fines  or  taxes  they  have  had  to  pay  to 
the  Government.  And  so  they  disappear  in  the 
gathering  dusk,  with  hardly  a  thought  beyond  to- 
morrow, and  how  to  live  from  day  to  day  under 
the  ever-growing  burden  of  poverty  and  taxation, 
and  with  no  hope  worth  the  name  in  the  life 
beyond  the  grave. 

Nor  is  this  all.  During  the  spring,  while  the 
corn  is  growing,  the  women  go  out  almost  every  day 
to  gather  the  weeds  which  are  found  in  quantities 
among  the  corn,  for  fodder  for  the  cattle  and  horses  ; 
they  may  be  often  seen  carrying  large  bundles 
of  these  weeds  on  their  heads  for  long  distances, 
this,  for  what  reason  I  know  not,  being  considered 
specially  women's  work.  They  often  assist  also  in 
the  reaping  of  the  harvest,  gathering  the  olives, 
grapes,  and  figs.    While  the  ploughing  is  going  on, 


the  women  and  bigger  girls  assist  by  hoeing  up  the 
corners  and  odd  bits  of  ground  where  the  plough 
cannot  reach  ;  and  I  have  even  seen  a  woman 
ploughing,  but  this  is  very  rare. 

The  clay  corn-bins  which  are  a  conspicuous 
object  in  the  house  of  every  Fellah,  and  which 
form  one  of  the  most  important  articles  of  furni- 
ture, are  also  made  by  the  women.  Clay  mixed  with 
Tibn  (crushed  straw)  is  the  material  employed  in 
their  manufacture.  After  being  dug  out  of  the 
hillside,  it  is  broken  up,  moistened  with  water,  and 
kneaded  up  into  a  tenacious  mass  with  the  straw, 
and  the  bin  is  carefully  built  up  piece  by  piece,  a 
little  being  done  each  day,  so  that  a  large  bin 
(Khabiyeh)  takes  many  days  to  complete.  When 
finished,  they  are  well  dried  in  the  sun  before  being 
brought  into  the  house.  When  one  enters  a  Fellah's 
house,  and  the  eye  has  become  accustomed  to  the 
dim  twilight  which  nearly  always  reigns  there,  one 
of  the  first  things  one  notices  is  the  row  of  these 
bins  at  the  back  of  the  room,  or  else  serving,  in 
one  of  the  larger  houses,  as  a  partition  between 
two  rooms.  In  them  the  year's  supply  of  wheat, 
lentils,  barley,  dried  figs,  etc.,  is  stored.  There  is 
a  small  hole,  Bozaneh,  at  the  bottom,  through 
which  the  contents  are  withdrawn  as  required. 
East  of  the  Jordan  a  very  large  kind  of  bin  called 
Ikwdrah  is  found.  A  framework  of  poles  and 
reeds  is  first  made  in  the  house  between  the  arches 
which  support  the  roof,  this  framework  being  after- 
wards plastered  with  clay.  This  latter  kind  of 
bin  probably  formed  the  '  barns '  mentioned  in  the 


parable  of  the  Foolish  Rich  Man  (St.  Luke  xii.  18), 
as  barns  in  the  sense  in  which  we  understand  the 
term  are  unknown  in  Palestine.  At  Kerak,  Madeba, 
and  other  places  east  of  the  Jordan,  corn  is  also 
stored  in  sacks  in  the  spaces  or  recesses  between 
the  arches  of  the  houses.  In  Old  Testament  times 
there  used  to  be  a  practice  of  storing  corn,  etc.,  in 
the  ground,  old  cisterns  being,  no  doubt,  chiefly 
used  for  the  purpose.  This  would  be  done  more 
especially  at  disturbed  times.  I  have  seen  this 
plan  resorted  to  occasionally  in  some  districts, 
more  particularly  in  Moab  and  other  parts  of 
Eastern  Palestine. 

Of  furniture,  as  we  understand  the  term,  an 
ordinary  peasant's  house  will  be  entirely  devoid, 
but  there  will  be  a  variety  of  cooking  utensils  and 
articles  of  household  use.  The  corn-bins  have 
already  been  described  ;  next  in  bulk  to  them  will 
be  a  huge  water-jar  :  this  usually  stands  near  the 
door,  in  a  corner  anyone  can  reach,  for  the  Fellahin 
are  a  thirsty  race  and  drink  large  quantities  of 
water.  In  its  capacious  mouth  reposes  an  earthen- 
ware jug,  or  tin  mug,  with  which  to  get  the 

Other  jars  of  various  sizes  and  shapes  will  be 
found,  differing  somewhat  in  the  several  districts  of 
Palestine,  from  the  JerraJi,  holding  a  gallon  or  more, 
in  which  the  women  bring  the  water  from  the  well, 
to  the  ShcrbeJi,  a  little  jar  with  a  spout,  and  holding 
one  or  two  pints,  from  which  they  drink.  In  some  of 
these  jars  will  be  stored  olive-oil  (which  is  much  used 
in  food),  pickled  olives,  honey,  and  Dibbs  (grape 


molasses).  A  few  round  trays  of  brightly-coloured 
straw  worked  in  patterns  will  be  seen  hanging  on 
the  walls,  with  a  sieve  and  a  few  rough  wicker 
baskets  for  carrying  vegetables  to  market,  or  bring- 
ing olives  or  figs  from  the  fields.  Two  or  three 
large  wooden  bowls  will  be  in  another  corner  ;  in 
them  the  dough  is  kneaded  and  taken  to  the  oven, 
clothes  are  taken  to  the  spring  to  wash,  and  some- 
times also  the  evening  meal  is  served  in  one  of 
these.  They  are  often  made  by  the  wandering 
gipsies,  who  sell  them  to  the  peasants,  and  I 
remember  a  Christian  peasant  (a  Greek)  once 
bringing  a  new  one  he  had  just  bought  from  these 
wanderers,  and  asking  me  to  pray  over  it  that  it 
might  be  clean  for  use  for  food. 

Smaller  bowls  of  wood  or  earthenware,  used  as 
dishes,  a  mortar  of  stone  or  wood  for  pounding 
coffee,  a  brass  pot  for  boiling  it,  a  few  tiny  cups 
without  handles  in  which  it  is  served,  an  iron  ladle 
in  which  the  coffee  beans  are  roasted,  and  a  few 
spoons  with  a  knife  or  two,  will  complete  the 
inventory  of  the  goods  of  an  average  peasant's 

While  on  the  one  hand  the  richer  peasants  will 
have  other  things,  especially  articles  of  European 
manufacture,  on  the  other  the  very  poor  will  have 
much  less.  On  the  floor  will  also  be  one  or  two 
mats,  made  of  a  species  of  papyrus,  or  else  of  a 
stout  grass,  and  on  these  the  people  will  sit,  chairs 
being  quite  unknown.  In  a  recess  in  the  wall  the 
bedding  will  be  piled.     This  is  extremely  simple, 

DRESS  139 

consisting  of  a  mattress,  three  or  four  inches  thick, 
stuffed  with  wool,  cotton,  or  rags ;  a  pillow,  usually 
filled  with  straw ;  and  one  or  more  thick  wadded 
quilts  (2  Kings  viii.  15),  which  form  the  only 
covering.  TsTo  bedsteads  are  used,  the  mattress 
being  spread  on  the  floor  at  night,  and  rolled  up 
and  put  away  during  the  day. 

The  dress  of  the  children  is  simplicity  itself. 
When  past  the  period  of  swaddling-clothes,  a  single 
loose  garment  with  short  sleeves,  and  opening  a 
couple  of  inches  in  front,  is  all  they  have.  On  the 
head  is  a  small  cap,  often  ornamented  with  beads 
and  charms  of  various  kinds,  while  other  charms, 
sewn  up  in  square  or  triangular  pieces  of  leather, 
will  be  hung  round  the  child's  neck,  especially  if  it 
be  a  boy.  As  the  children  get  older  their  dress 
will  be  a  reproduction  on  a  small  scale  of  that  of 
their  parents,  except  that  they  are  usually  barefoot, 
and  that,  in  those  parts  of  the  country  where  turbans 
are  worn,  the  boys  do  not  have  them  till  they 
approach  manhood. 

The  dress  of  the  men  differs  somewhat  in  various 
parts  of  the  country,  and  the  same  articles  of  cloth- 
ing will  be  called  by  different  names  in  different 
places.  The  garment  worn  next  the  skin  is  prac- 
tically always  a  kind  of  long  shirt  of  white  calico ;  the 
sleeves  of  this  vary  somewhat.  East  of  the  Jordan 
they  are  worn  very  long  and  pointed,  the  dependent 
point  being  used  to  carry  money,  tobacco,  and 
various  little  odds  and  ends,  which  are  knotted  up 
in  it,  instead  of  being  put  in  a  pocket  as  with  us. 


This  is  often  confined  at  the  waist  by  a  leather 
strap,  into  which  the  loose  skirt  of  the  garment  is 
tucked  when  the  man  is  at  hard  work.  Over  this 
shirt  a  long  garment  like  a  dressing-gown,  of  some 
coloured  material,  is  worn  ;  it  reaches  nearly  to  the 
heels.  For  ordinary  wear  a  coloured  cotton,  lined 
with  unbleached  calico,  is  used,  but  for  gala  dress 
silk,  woven  in  Damascus  or  the  Lebanon,  is  the 
material  employed ;  it  is  confined  round  the  waist 
by  a  coloured  belt  of  elastic  cotton  webbing,  with 
a  space  for  keeping  money,  large  sums  being  often 
carried  in  these  '  purses '  (St.  Matt  x.  9)  on  a 

Occasionally  very  wide,  baggy  trousers  of  white 
calico,  fastening  at  the  ankles,  are  worn  by  the 
peasantry,  but  only  by  those  who  are  better  off. 
Over  this  coloured  garment  a  short  jacket  of 
coloured  cloth,  with  patterns  in  black  braid,  is  worn 
on  Sundays  and  feast-days.  An  outer  cloak  is  also 
much  used  ;  this  is  of  various  kinds,  shapes,  and 
colours.  About  Jerusalem  the  kind  most  worn  is 
a  square  cloak  of  wool  and  cotton,  woven  in  stripes 
of  black  and  white.  It  is  heavy  and  warm,  and 
will  turn  any  ordinary  shower,  though  it  will  get 
soaked  through  with  a  long  exposure  to  heavy  rain. 
About  Xablus  a  shorter  and  coarser  garment,  red 
and  white,  is  used,  while  east  of  the  Jordan,  again, 
a  very  long  light  black  cloak  reaching  to  the  heels 
is  ordinarily  employed.  In  very  cold  weather  the 
men  wear  a  Furicah — that  is,  a  coat  or  jacket  made 
of  lambskins,  dressed  with  the  wool  on  them.  They 
are  very  warm,  and  are  largely  used  by  muleteers, 


camel-drivers,  and  others  whose  work  obliges  them 
to  sleep  out  much  at  night. 

In  many  parts  the  head-dress  is  a  somewhat  com- 
plicated one :  first  of  all  comes  a  close-fitting  white 
skull-cap  of  cotton  ;  then  a  heavy  thick  cap  over 
that,  of  felt  or  some  woollen  material ;  and  over 
that,  again,  a  red  fez,  with  a  black  or  dark  blue 
tassel,  while  over  all,  like  the  brim  of  a  hat, 
comes  the  turban.  This  turban  is  of  various 
colours,  which  have  for  the  most  part  a  religious  or 
other  significance.  Thus,  a  white  turban  almost 
always  denotes  a  Mohammedan,  more  especially 
one  who  holds  some  post  under  the  Ottoman 
Government ;  but  this  is  not  invariable,  as  members 
of  the  Yemen  faction,  elsewhere  described,  are  dis- 
tinguished by  a  white  turban,  and  at  Bethlehem  it 
is  the  custom  for  Christians,  who  have  in  the 
course  of  their  business  had  to  travel  much  among 
Moslems,  to  wear  it.  A  red  turban  indicates  those 
who  belong  to  the  faction  of  Kais ;  while  a  green 
turban  shows  a  Sherif,  or  noble — that  is,  a  lineal 
descendant  of  the  Prophet  Mohammed  ;  it  may  be 
seen  on  the  heads  of  beggars,  or  men  engaged  in 
the  most  menial  occupations,  as  well  as  of  those 
of  more  prosperous  circumstances.  I  have,  how- 
ever, been  told  by  Moslems  that  it  is  now  some- 
times adopted  by  people  who  have  no  real  right  to 
the  title  of  Sherif.  In  other  districts,  especially 
those  where  there  are  many  Bedouin,  or  where  the 
people  come  much  in  contact  with  them,  the  head- 
dress is  of  quite  a  different  character,  consisting  of 
a  large  handkerchief,  usually  black  or  of  some  dark 


colour,  but  not  unfrequently  white,  with  a  heavy- 
double  coll  of  cord  made  of  wool  or  goat's  hair  to 
keep  it  in  place.* 

On  their  feet  the  Fellahin  wear  thick,  clumsy 
shoes  or  boots  of  various  descriptions.  There  are 
the  long  boots  coming  halfway  up  the  calf  of  the 
leg,  made  of  bright  red  leather,  with  a  tassel  in 
front  and  iron-guarded  heels.  These  are  chiefly 
worn  in  Eastern  Palestine.  Then  there  are  the 
ordinary  boots,  with  thick,  heavy  soles,  of  camel  or 
buffalo  hide,  and  red  uppers,  coming  to  a  point 
above  the  heel  and  the  instep ;  shoes  of  a  lighter 
make  are  also  worn. 

On  entering  a  house,  church,  or  mosque,  the 
boots  or  shoes  are  removed.  To  enter  wearing 
them  would  be  considered  most  irreverent  in  the 
case  of  a  sacred  edifice,  and  disrespectful  in  the 
case  of  a  private  house.  When  a  number  of  people 
are  gathered  at  a  house — e.g.,  to  greet  a  stranger 
of  importance — extraordinary  collections  of  boots 
and  shoes  in  all  stages  of  wear  may  be  seen,  and 
one  wonders  sometimes  how  the  respective  owners 
ever  find  their  special  property  again. 

In  order  to  fasten  up  the  sleeves  out  of  the  way 
when  working,  a  cord,  called  Sliemar,  is  worn  over 
the  shoulders,  passing  round  the  upper  part  of  the 

*  This  latter  head-dress  is  of  comparatively  recent  date, 
the  red  cap  and  turban  being  universally  worn  in  olden  days, 
and  probably  in  use  in  our  Blessed  Lord's  time.  There  is  a 
traditional  saying  of  Mohammed  to  the  effect  that  when 
Moslems  should  give  up  wearing  the  turban  their  honour  (or 
nobility)  would  be  gone. 


arms.  Into  it  the  ends  of  the  sleeves  are  tucked, 
thus  drawing  them  back,  and  leaving  the  lower  arm 
bare  and  free. 

East  of  the  Jordan  a  leather  belt,  with  straps 
attached  in  front  and  behind,  coming  over  the 
shoulders  and  crossing  on  the  chest,  is  worn  over 
the  inner  shirt,  and  called  Jennad. 

The  dress  of  the  women  is  in  some  things  similar 
to  that  of  the  men.  When  about  their  work  they 
usually  wear  only  one  long  garment,  with  a  girdle 
of  some  cotton  or  woollen  material  round  the  waist. 
It  is  made  of  cotton  dyed  with  indigo,  or  plain 
white,  or  broad  stripes  of  red,  green  and  white.  In 
some  cases,  in  cold  weather,  they  wear  a  wadded 
jacket,  and  occasionally  even  a  lambskin  coat  like 
the  men ;  but  more  often  the  poor  creatures  go 
about,  even  in  the  coldest  weather,  with  no  extra 
clothing.  At  weddings  and  on  high-days  and  holi- 
days, instead  of  the  simple  garment  just  described, 
a  much  more  elaborate  one  is  worn  of  dark  blue 
material,  with  coloured  stripes  and  lines,  and  some- 
times a  few  gold  threads  running  through  it.  Into 
the  front  of  this  dress  a  square  of  the  needlework 
already  described  is  inserted,  while,  where  it  is 
worn,  a  gorgeous  coat  of  coloured  cloth,  with  bright 
braiding  round  the  edges,  completes  the  costume, 
the  dress  of  the  Bethlehem  women  being  par- 
ticularly brilliant. 

The  women  of  Nazareth  and  the  districts  round 
wear  a  long  white  inner  garment  of  cotton,  and 
over  it  another  similar  one,  but  of  coloured  material, 
reaching  to  the  feet,  and  open  in  front  as  far  as  the 


waist,  where  a  girdle  keeps  it  in  place.  At  Es  Salt, 
Madeba,  Kerak,  etc.,  the  women's  dress  is  most 
unbecoming.  It  consists  of  a  single  garment  of 
dark  blue  calico,  about  twice  as  long  as  the  wearer 
is  tall,  the  extra  length  being  pulled  up  inside  the 
girdle,  and  allowed  to  fall  over  it  all  round,  reaching 
nearly  to  the  feet,  thus  forming  a  sort  of  sack. 

The  head-dress  of  the  women  varies  greatly  in 
the  different  parts  of  the  country.  The  married 
women  of  Bethlehem  have  a  peculiar  one,  which  is 
worn  only  by  them  and  the  women  of  the  neigh- 
bouring village  of  Beit  Jala.  It  is  made  of  a  fez, 
with  some  material  to  stiffen  it,  and  covered  with 
red  cotton,  and  has  two  ears  at  the  bottom  on 
either  side.  To  these  is  fastened  a  chain  of  silver, 
or  some  baser  metal,  with  large  silver  coins  attached 
— ten  in  number  in  the  case  of  the  richer  women, 
and  seven  in  that  of  the  poorer  (a  bride  has  twenty). 
The  lowest  central  coin  is,  whenever  possible,  of 
gold,  being  really  a  kind  of  medal  made  expressly 
for  the  purpose,  and  worth  some  £3  or  £4.  Along 
the  front  of  the  head-dress,  over  the  forehead,  is 
one  row  of  coins  (or  more  if  the  woman  be  rich), 
or,  if  she  be  too  poor  to  have  real  money,  some 
imitation  coins  are  used  instead.  Over  the  whole 
a  veil,  consisting  of  some  3  yards  of  fine  white 
cotton  material,  is  thrown.  It  was  a  veil,  no  doubt, 
of  this  kind  which  Ruth  wore  when  she  gleaned 
in  the  fields  of  Boaz  outside  Bethlehem,  and 
into  which  he  poured  the  six  measures  of  corn 
(Ruth  iii.  15).  The  head-dress  entirely  conceals 
the   hair,   it   being    considered    improper   for    the 


peasant  women   to  show  any  of  it,  and   is  often 
worn  night  and  day. 

The  women  of  the  villages  about  Jerusalem  wear 
a  rather  different  head-dress,  the  high  hat  being 
replaced  by  a  close-fitting  cap,  to  the  front  of 
which  one  or  two  rows  of  coins  are  securely 
fastened.  A  metal  chain  hangs  from  it,  passing 
loosely  under  the  chin  ;  and  from  its  lowest  part 
a  large  silver  coin  is  suspended.  Many  of  the  coins 
on  this  singular  head-dress  are  large,  and  the  total 
weight  amounts,  where  there  is  a  double  row  of 
them,  to  several  pounds  ;  yet  so  accustomed  to  it 
do  the  women  become,  that,  should  they  have  to 
lay  it  aside  for  any  reason,  they  suffer  from  severe 
headache.  So  well  known  is  this,  that  a  short  time 
ago  a  Moslem  woman  in  a  village  near  Jerusalem, 
who  had  to  give  her  head-dress  as  a  pledge  for  the 
repayment  of  a  sum  of  money  her  husband  had 
borrowed,  bound  a  heavy  piece  of  metal  on  her 
head  instead,  and  so  prevented  the  headache.  In 
public  the  women  always  wear  a  veil,  not  over  their 
faces,  however,  but  over  their  heads,  the  face  being 
uncovered.  It  is  considered  improper  for  them  to 
be  seen  by  a  man  without  their  veil.  It  is,  never- 
theless, often  laid  aside  when  they  are  engaged  in 
hard  work,  or,  indeed,  in  other  occupations  ;  and 
many  a  time  in  the  villages,  turning  suddenly  a 
corner  of  one  of  the  narrow  winding  lanes,  I  have 
come  on  a  little  group  of  Fellahat  busy  at  work 
without  their  veils,  but  the  moment  I  was  perceived 
the  veils  would  be  replaced  on  their  heads,  or,  if 

they  were  not  sufficiently  close  at  hand,  one  of  the 



long,  voluminous  sleeves  of  their  dress  would  be 
thrown  over  till  I  had  passed.  The  women  of 
Moab  and  Gilead  and  those  in  Galilee  do  not  wear 
either  of  the  head-dresses  I  have  just  described,  but 
instead  of  them  have  a  dark-coloured  piece  of  cotton 
material,  folded  several  times,  bound  round  the 
head,  covering  the  forehead,  but  leaving  the  crown 
of  the  head  bare. 


DOMESTIC    LIFE    (C0?lti?lUed) 

The  Fellahin  are  as  a  rule  a  healthy  race.  The 
open-air  life  they  lead,  the  fact  that  they  rarely  use 
stimulants,  and  their  simple  habits,  all  tend  to  keep 
them  free  from  many  complaints  common  to  other 
climates  and  conditions  of  life.  They  are,  never- 
theless, no  more  immune  from  sickness  than  any 
others  of  the  human  race,  and  in  times  of  illness  they 
are  as  a  rule  very  helpless.  All,  both  Moslems  and 
Christians,  have  unbounded  faith  in  charms,  and 
use  them  extensively  both  to  ward  off  sickness 
and  to  cure  it  when  it  comes.  There  are,  however, 
certain  remedies  known  to  them  which  are  not 
without  their  value.  Cauterizing  with  a  hot  iron 
is  resorted  to  for  lumbago,  rheumatism,  diphtheria, 
and  other  ailments,  and  some  persons  have  a  high 
reputation  for  their  skill  in  administering  this  drastic 
remedy,  which  they  employ  with  a  boldness  pro- 
duced by  their  absolute  ignorance  of  human 
anatomy.  The  results,  however,  are  sometimes  very 
good,  especially  in  cases  of  acute  inflammation. 
Some  of  them  are  very  clever  in  setting  broken 
bones.     They  value  highly  European  medical  and 

147  10—2 


surgical  skill  and  European  drugs,  and  medical 
missions  have  done  wonders  in  winning  the  hearts 
of  the  people  and  in  disposing  them  to  listen  to 
the  message  of  the  Gospel. 

Malarial  fever  of  different  types  is  the  commonest 
of  all  maladies ;  and  there  are  certain  localities 
which  have  an  unenviable  notoriety  in  this  respect, 
such  as  some  parts  of  the  plains  of  Sharon  and 
Jezreel,  and  certain  villages  in  other  places.  One 
such  village  on  the  western  slopes  of  the  Jebel 
el  Kuds  became  particularly  malarious  during  the 
present  generation.  This  is  said  to  be  due  to  the 
cutting  down  of  some  pine-woods  which  formerly 
surrounded  it — such,  at  least,  is  the  opinion  of  its 
present  inhabitants,  and  there  seems  to  be  no  reason 
to  question  its  correctness.  Quinine  is  well  known 
to  them  as  an  antidote  for  this  disease,  and  they 
value  it  highly.  A  very  virulent  type  of  this  fever, 
with  symptoms  resembling  those  of  yellow  fever, 
occurs  occasionally  in  the  plains,  and  is  probably 
due  to  contaminated  water. 

Dengue  fever,  or  a  fever  closely  resembling 
what  is  now  known  in  England  as  influenza,  is 
by  no  means  uncommon,  and  sometimes  occurs  in 
epidemics.  It  is  characteristically  called  in  Arabic 
Abu  rikab,  or  '  the  father  of  the  joints,'  from  the 
severe  pains  in  the  joints  and  bones  which  usually 
accompanies  it.  Small-pox  is  also  very  general. 
Inoculation  for  this  disease  is  still  largely  practised, 
especially  by  the  more  ignorant  Moslems,  and 
helps  to  spread  the  contagion  and  to  raise  the 
death-rate.      During   a   severe   outbreak   of  it   in 


1901,  a  Khatib  in  a  village  in  the  Jebel  el  Kuds 
inoculated  twenty-six  boys  from  the  body  of  one 
man  who  had  died  of  small-pox,  with  the  result 
that  every  one  of  them  succumbed. 

The  people  have,  however,  a  high  esteem  for 
vaccination  as  a  preventative  of  small-pox,  and 
there  are  now  native  vaccinators  who  go  about  the 
country  practising  their  art.  They  charge  a  hishlik 
(about  sixpence)  for  each  person  operated  on — a 
relatively  high  fee  for  the  country — and  make  a 
very  good  living  by  it.  During  the  outbreak  just 
referred  to,  a  lady  missionary  vaccinated  hundreds 
of  children  and  adults  in  some  of  the  villages  near 
Jerusalem,  and  thus  probably  saved  the  lives  of 
scores  of  people. 

Measles  is  another  disease  which  is  at  times  very 
fatal  among  the  children,  and  this  almost  entirely 
from  the  utter  carelessness  of  the  parents,  the 
deaths  being  chiefly,  not  from  the  disease  itself,  but 
its  sequelae.  They  have  as  a  rule  little  or  no  idea 
of  nursing  the  sick  ;  they  mean  well  often  enough, 
but  do  not  know  what  is  wanted.  Then,  too,  their 
fatalistic  ideas  come  in,  especially  in  the  case  of  the 
Moslems  :  if  it  be  God's  will  that  the  sick  recover, 
he  will  recover,  but  if  not  he  will  die,  so  why 
should  they  trouble  ?  A  European  doctor,  who 
had  had  wide  experience  in  the  country,  once  told 
me  that  he  had  on  several  occasions  discovered 
that,  when  he  had  given  up  hope  of  a  patient's 
recovery,  and  had  told  the  relations  this,  they  took 
no  further  trouble  about  the  sick  person,  giving 
neither   food   nor    medicine ;    consequently,    after 


finding  this  out,  he  never  told  the  friends  what  his 
view  of  the  case  was,  and  his  hopes  (or  the  reverse) 
of  recovery. 

Perhaps  in  no  country  in  the  world  is  blindness 
and  defective  sight  so  common  as  in  Palestine. 
Scarcity  of  water  has,  no  doubt,  much  to  do  with 
this  and  many  other  complaints.  When  it  is 
difficult  for  the  people  to  get  water  enough  for 
drinking  and  cooking,  one  cannot  wonder  that  they 
do  not  wash  often.  Eye  diseases  are  very  common, 
but  are  undoubtedly  aggravated  by  want  of  cleanli- 
ness and  by  flies.  It  is  a  common  thing  to  see 
children  suffering  from  these  complaints  with  a 
number  of  flies  settled  on  the  discharging  eyelids, 
the  little  things  not  seeming  to  mind  their  presence  ; 
and  by  them,  of  course,  the  disease  is  communicated 
to  others.  Much  blindness  is  caused  by  the  apathy 
of  the  people,  who  will  put  off  going  to  a  medical 
man  till  too  late.  In  many  and  many  a  case  a 
perfect  cure  could  have  been  effected,  but  the 
patient  has  delayed  until  the  sight  is  hopelessly 

The  mortality  among  children,  infants  espe- 
cially, is  very  great.  Much  of  this  is  caused  by  the 
absolute  ignorance  of  the  young  mothers  as  to  how 
to  treat  their  children.  Improper  food  produces 
much  disease  among  them.  As  soon  as  they  are 
able  to  eat  anything  at  all  solid,  they  are  given  the 
same  food  as  the  rest  of  the  family  ;  and  it  is  no 
uncommon  thing  to  see  a  little  child,  unable  to 
stand,  eating  raw  cucumber  or  sour,  unripe  grapes. 
The    cauterization    also,    already   mentioned,    and 


which  is  used  as  freely  on  children  as  on  adults,  is 
no  doubt  responsible  for  a  good  many  deaths  among 
them,  the  poor  little  things,  especially  if  weakly, 
being  unable  to  stand  the  shock  and  pain. 

The  Fellahm,  although  a  strong  race  in  many 
respects,  yet  feel  the  cold  of  winter  intensely,  more 
particularly  in  the  mountains,  and  every  year  there 
are  cases  of  people  dying  of  cold  and  exposure, 
especially  in  times  of  snow.  In  one  case,  which 
occurred  recently,  a  man  was  going  home  one 
winter's  afternoon  from  Jerusalem  on  a  donkey 
which  he  had  hired  from  his  own  village.  Some 
time  after  dark  the  donkey  arrived  alone  at  his 
owner's  house,  with  things  belonging  to  the  man 
who  had  hired  it  in  the  saddle-bags.  This  led  to  a 
search  being  made,  and  the  man's  body,  partially 
eaten  by  hyenas,  was  found  by  the  roadside.  Nothing 
was  missing,  so  it  was,  clearly,  not  a  case  of  robbery 
and  murder  ;  but  no  doubt  he  had  fallen  from  the 
donkey  and  died  of  exposure. 

Like  all  hot  countries,  Palestine  is  liable  to 
epidemics  of  cholera  from  time  to  time.  During 
the  last  epidemic  but  one,  the  village  of  Bir  Zeit  in 
the  Jebel  el  Kuds  was  one  of  those  attacked  by  it. 
A  young  man  from  the  village  died  of  the  disease 
in  the  town  of  Nablus.  His  mother  fetched  his 
clothes  home  and  washed  them  in  the  spring  from 
which  most  of  the  villagers  got  their  drinking- 
water  !  As  a  natural  consequence,  the  cholera  very 
soon  broke  out  with  great  violence.  It  was  the 
grape  season,  and  some  of  the  people  were  living 
out  in  their  vineyards.     One  of  the  leading  men 


of  the  village,  a  man  of  great  force  of  character, 
persuaded  the  rest  of  the  people  to  go  out,  only 
three  men,  who  had  volunteered  to  do  so,  remain- 
ing to  bury  the  dead.  Arrangements  were  made 
for  supplying  the  different  families  with  food, 
water,  etc.,  without  running  any  risk  of  carrying 
infection.  It  was  on  a  Tuesday  that  the  disease 
first  showed  itself,  and  by  the  following  Tuesday 
thirty  deaths  had  occurred  out  of  a  population  01 
from  two  to  three  hundred.  Not  a  single  other 
case  occurred  after  that  day,  and  it  never  reappeared 
in  that  village  during  that  outbreak.  Of  the  three 
men  who  so  nobly  volunteered  to  bury  the  dead, 
all  escaped,  the  first  of  them  dying  thirty  years 
afterwards,  the  other  two  being  still  alive.  The 
incident  is  a  notable  one,  as  there  was  no  European 
hand  in  it  from  first  to  last,  and  it  shows  what  the 
Fellahin  are  capable  of  under  wise  and  energetic 
native  guidance. 

Leprosy*  is  still  found  in  Palestine,  and  lepers 

*  The  following  notes  on  leprosy  in  Palestine  at  the 
present  day  have  been  kindly  furnished  me  by  Dr.  AVheeler, 
the  senior  medical  missionary  of  the  London  Jews1  Society  in 
Jerusalem  : 

1.  Fish  in  this  country  plays  no  part  in  causing  leprosy. 
The  Jews  who  consume  the  greatest  part  of  the  salted  as 
well  as  fresh  fish,  and  in  some  cases  even  of  decaying  fish, 
hardly  ever  suffer  from  leprosy.  A  few  years  ago  there  was 
a  case  of  a  woman,  but  she  came  from  Salonica.  In  the 
villages  of  Ramallah,  Beit  Haninah,  Ain  Arik,  etc.,  and  among 
the  Bedouin,  practically  no  fish  is  eaten,  and  yet  it  is  just 
from  them  that  the  greater  number  of  lepers  come. 

2.  Leprosy  is  undoubtedly  contagious ;  a  special  bacillus 


may  be  seen  outside  Jerusalem,  Xablus,  and 
Ramleh,  sitting  by  the  wayside  begging.  They 
are  provided  for  to  a  certain  extent  by  the  local 
authorities,  who  in  these  three  places  have  set 
apart  houses  for  them,  and  give  them  a  certain 
amount  of  bread  every  day.  They  also  receive  a 
great  deal  of  food  and  money  from  the  people 
generally,  as  alms. 

The  Fellahm  seem  to  be  specially  subject  to 
leprosy — that  is,  more  so  than  the  towns-people.  A 
leper  is  regarded  as  a  dead  person,  and,  as  already 
mentioned,  the  Christians  consider  that,  if  a  married 

has    been    found.     However,    cases    of    contagion    are    very 

3.  It  has  not  yet  been  quite  decided  whether  leprosy  is 
strictly  hereditary ;  but  heredity  plays  the  most  important 
part  in  the  transmission  of  this  disease. 

4.  It  is  possible  for  leprous  persons  to  have  healthy 
children.  There  are  now  in  the  asylum  here  live  children 
between  the  ages  of  five  and  twelve  who  have  been  born  of 
leprous  parents.  Up  to  this  time  they  have  shown  no  sign 
of  leprosy ;  they  are  still  under  observation.  There  is  a  man 
now  living  whose  mother  was  a  leper;  he  married  about 
twelve  years  ago.  He  and  his  wife  and  children  are  all  at 
present  quite  healthy. 

5.  It  has  not  been  established  by  experience  here  that  a 
child  born  of  parents  who  become  lepers  afterwards  need 
necessarily  develop  leprosy  itself. 

6.  The  tubercular  form  is  the  commonest  in  this  country. 
It  is  impossible  to  state  at  the  present  moment  what  is  the 
chief  factor  in  the  causation  of  leprosy.  The  inhabitants  of 
this  country  live  upon  almost  the  same  kind  of  food  everywhere, 
and  although  most  of  the  lepers  come  from  the  villages,  there 
are  some  villages  in  which  no  case  of  leprosy  has  been  reported. 


person  becomes  a  leper,  the  husband  or  wife,  as  the 
case  may  be,  is  free  to  marry  again. 

There  is  at  Jerusalem  a  fine  hospital,  under  the 
care  of  the  Moravian  Brethren,  specially  for  lepers, 
where  they  are  most  carefully  tended. 

There  are  various  hot  springs  both  east  and  west 
of  the  Jordan,  such  as  those  at  Tiberias,  to  which 
people  resort  for  various  diseases.  In  the  Zerka 
Main  (Callirhoe)  are  some  which  are  very  famous 
among  the  people  of  Moab  and  the  Belka  for  their 
healing  properties.  Persons  who  have  no  children 
will  bathe  in  them  in  hopes  that  they  may  obtain 
them,  as  the  people  believe  strongly  that  the  waters 
have  this  effect. 

Among  remedies  known  to  the  native  doctors 
may  be  mentioned  one  for  rabies  ;  it  is  an  infusion 
of  the  leaves  and  flowers  of  a  low,  strong-smelling 
shrub  with  bright  yellow  flowers,  which  are 
succeeded  by  long  pods  ;  it  has  two  different  native 

Amongst  the  Bedouin,  who  are  supposed  to  lead  a  healthy 
life,  there  have  been  several  cases  of  leprosy.  Although 
leprosy  is  contagious,  it  would  seem  that  before  it  is  trans- 
mitted the  person  receiving  it  must  have  a  '  hereditary  dis- 
position.1 It  is  a  curious  fact  that  in  this  country  for 
centuries,  in  spite  of  no  sanitary  precautions  being  taken, 
leprosy  has  neither  decreased  nor  increased.  It  is  found  in 
certain  families  which  seem  to  have  a  '  hereditary  predis- 
position.1 In  the  leper  hospital  here  there  is  a  special 
department  for  the  bringing  up,  by  hand,  of  children  of 
leprous  parents.  They  are  removed  from  their  parents  im- 
mediately after  birth,  and  kept  exclusively  in  a  separate 
apartment ;  they  are  thus  kept  from  all  leprous  contamina- 
tion.    These  experiments  will  be  watched  with  deep  interest. 


names — Litin  and  Salmoneh.  It  is  evidently  a 
powerful  drug,  and  a  medical  man  told  me  that 
he  knew  of  a  case  in  which  a  man  who  had  been 
bitten  by  a  mad  dog,  and  was  treated  with  it, 
died  of  Bright's  disease  brought  on  by  the  use 
of  it. 

In  most  of  the  large  villages  there  are  one  or 
two  idiots,  who  seem  to  be  harmless  as  a  rule.  A 
proverb  evidently  derived  from  the  Bedouin  says  : 
*  No  tribe  but  has  its  idiot. '  There  are  a  few 
lunatics  also,  perhaps  more  than  might  be  expected 
a  priori  in  a  country  like  Palestine,  where  the  rush 
and  hurry  of  Western  life  is  practically  unknown. 
Near  Bethlehem  there  is  a  Greek  monastery  where 
insane  cases  are  taken,  the  violent  ones  being 
chained  to  the  wall.  They  profess  that  some  cases 
are  cured  here,  but,  as  with  many  other  things  in 
the  East,  statistics  are  entirely  wanting.  The 
lunatics,  like  the  idiots,  are  nearly  always  harmless. 
1  have  never  myself  come  across  one  who  was 
dangerous.  They  simply  wander  about,  one  of 
their  characteristics  being  their  dislike  to  wearing 
any  sort  of  clothing.  They,  in  common  with 
persons  afflicted  with  the  shaking  palsy,  are  held  to 
be  under  God's  special  protection,  and  are  therefore 
rarely  unkindly  treated. 

When  a  person  has  died,  they  have  a  great  objec- 
tion to  announcing  the  fact  directly  to  anyone. 
Thus,  for  instance,  if  a  man  goes  to  break  to 
another  the  news  of  his  father's  death,  he  begins  in 
a  roundabout  way ;  says  he  is  ill,  and  gradually 
tells  him   more   and   more,  till   at  last   the  other 


guesses  what  has  happened,  and  breaks  out  into 
bitter  lamentations. 

Many  have  an  idea  that  the  death  of  a  domestic 
animal,  more  especially  if  it  be  at  all  a  valuable 
one,  such  as  a  horse  of  good  breed,  is  instead  of  the 
death  of  the  owner  or  of  a  member  of  his  family. 

On  the  day  of  a  death,  the  relations,  friends,  and 
neighbours  bring  food,  bread,  etc.,  to  the  house  of 
the  family  to  eat.  It  is  supposed  that  those  in 
the  house  of  death  cannot  cook  or  attend  to  such 
things,  and  at  first  they  are  not  supposed  to  eat  at 
all,  from  grief,  and  many  do  not  eat  for  some  time. 
In  some  places  it  is  the  custom  to  thus  supply  food 
for  fifteen  days.  On  the  last  day  the  relatives  of 
the  dead  kill  one  or  more  sheep,  make  a  feast,  and 
invite  a  number  of  people.  This  is  considered  a 
satisfaction  for  the  sins  of  the  dead  person. 

Palestine  being  essentially  a  hot  country,  burial 
has  to  take  place  very  soon  after  death.  No  coffin 
is  used,  the  body  being  carried  on  a  bier  to  the 
grave  merely  wrapped  in  a  shroud  or  in  the 
ordinary  clothes.  At  a  Greek  funeral  the  relations 
of  the  dead  buy  candles  from  the  priests,  and,  light- 
ing them,  give  one  to  each  person  present  to  show 
that  the  life  of  the  deceased  was  good  and  pure  as 
the  light.  With  the  same  idea  at  the  grave,  while 
the  service  is  being  read,  cotton  dipped  in  olive-oil 
is  placed  on  the  corpse. 

Among  the  Moslems  the  body  is  ceremonially 
washed  before  burial,  this  being  part  of  the  duty  of 
the  Khatib  in  case  of  men,  while  the  village  mid- 
wife usually  performs  this  office  for  women. 


In  the  case  of  influential  people  a  large  crowd 
usually  accompanies  the  bier,  and,  as  it  is  con- 
sidered a  meritorious  act  to  assist  in  carrying  this, 
there  are  always  plenty  of  persons  to  take  the  dead 
to  the  burying-ground.  If  the  deceased  be  a 
Moslem  of  position,  the  bier  is  preceded  by  persons 
carrying  palm  branches  (in  token  that  the  deceased 
has  been  victorious,  or,  in  other  words,  has  attained 
Paradise),  and  men  reciting  passages  from  the 
Koran  ;  and  where  he  has  been  famous  as  a  dervish 
or  sheikh,  red  and  green  banners  with  passages  from 
the  Koran  embroidered  on  them  will  be  borne  in 
the  procession,  accompanied  by  the  beating  of 

When  a  grave  has  been  dug  deep  enough,  stones 
are  placed  along  both  sides  at  the  bottom,  leaving 
between  a  space  wide  enough  for  the  corpse  ;  and 
when  this  has  been  laid  in  its  last  resting-place, 
slabs  of  stone  are  put  over  it,  resting  on  the  two 
rows  of  stones.  The  interstices  are  then  carefully 
plastered  over  so  that  no  earth  can  touch  the  body. 
In  rocky  ground,  however,  the  grave  is  sometimes 
so  shallow  that  the  wild  animals  can  get  to  the 
corpse.  Strolling  one  day  outside  the  walls  of 
Kerak,  in  the  land  of  Moab,  I  met  a  poor  woman 
in  terrible  distress  ;  she  had  come  to  look  at  the 
grave  of  her  child,  which  had  been  buried  the  pre- 
vious day,  only  to  find  that  the  hyenas  had  dug  up 
and  carried  off  the  body. 

The  graveyards  are  little  cared  for,  being  in 
marked  contrast  to  the  Welys,  or  tombs  of  saints. 
They  are  rarely,  if  ever,  enclosed  in  any  way  ;  and, 


as  among  the  Fellahin  tombstones  are  rare,  it  is 
sometimes  most  difficult  to  detect  a  burying-ground, 
and  one  may  easily  walk  over  an  old  grave  without 
being  the  least  conscious  of  the  fact  (St.  Luke  xi.  44). 
In  a  few  Moslem  villages  I  have  noticed  a  large 
blue  sweet-scented  iris  planted  on  the  graves  ;  this 
plant  is  called  Subeyhah,  the  diminutive  of  the  word 
1  Praise,'  its  sweet  scent  being  thought  to  be  accept- 
able to  God,  as  the  praises  of  the  dead. 

In  some  cases  the  burial-grounds  belong,  not  to 
the  village  or  church,  but  to  the  particular  family 
or  clan,  only  members  of  that  family  being  allowed 
to  be  buried  there. 

The  dead  are  sometimes  buried  in  a  sort  of  vault 
called  Fustakiyeh  or  Khashkhdsheh.  This  is  some- 
times a  natural  cave,  but  more  often  a  hole  in  the 
ground  with  four  rough  walls  and  a  barrel-shaped 
roof,  a  doorway  being  left  at  one  end.  In  the  case 
of  burial  in  these  vaults,  the  body  is  merely  laid  on 
the  floor  wrapped  in  a  shroud  or  in  the  ordinary 
clothes,  the  doorway  being  then  built  up  with  large 
stones  laid  in  mortar.  A  considerable  number  of 
bodies  can  be  placed  in  one  of  these  vaults,  but 
they  are  usually  employed  only  for  the  very  poorest 
or  strangers.  Occasionally  others  will  be  tem- 
porarily buried  there — for  example,  in  winter,  when 
the  weather  is  too  stormy  to  allow  of  an  ordinary 
grave  being  dug,  the  body  being  afterwards  trans- 
ferred to  a  proper  grave,  as  the  people  dislike  being 
buried  there.  It  was  probably  in  order  to  build 
such  a  vault  that  the  priests  (St.  Matt,  xxvii.  7) 
purchased  the  potter's  field,  as  the  removal  of  the 


clay  would  make  a  large  hole  suitable  for  the  pur- 
pose, and  thus  lessen  the  expense.  In  the  same 
way  now  a  hole  caused  by  the  removal  of  stone  for 
building  is  sometimes  utilized  by  the  Fellahin  for 
making  one  of  these  burial-vaults. 

After  the  funeral,  in  the  case  of  Moslems,  food 
is  often  cooked  and  placed  on  the  grave  for  the 
poor  to  eat,  this  being,  it  is  supposed,  reckoned  in 
the  other  world  as  though  done  by  the  dead  person, 
and  so  as  adding  to  his  merit,  and  consequently 
increasing  his  hopes  of  eternal  life. 

This  is  also  done  in  many  cases  on  Thursdays  for 
some  time  after  the  death,  and  for  the  same  reason. 
Again,  after  Ramadhan  (the  Moslem  month  of  fast- 
ing) is  over,  the  people  go  to  the  burial-ground, 
when  (if  there  has  been  a  death  in  any  family  during 
the  past  year,  and  if  the  relations  can  afford  it)  food 
is  placed  there  for  the  poor. 

If  a  sheikh  or  influential  person  dies,  word  is  sent 
to  the  people  of  his  own  and  neighbouring  villages, 
and  they  come  bringing  money  or  clothes,  which 
they  put  on  the  grave  in  honour  of  the  dead.  These 
are  taken  by  the  relations,  who  in  return  make 
a  feast  for  those  who  attend  the  funeral.  But  in 
some  places,  instead  of  clothes  and  money,  rice  only 
is  put  on  the  grave. 

Sometimes  after  the  death  of  a  sheikh,  or  other 
important  person,  a  favourite  camel  will  be  bound 
on  the  grave,  and  left  there  to  die  ;  such  a  victim 
is  called  JJahiyeh.  The  idea  is  probably  that  of  its 
spirit  accompanying  its  former  owner  in  the  spirit- 


The  Fellahtn  greatly  dread  any  disturbance  of 
their  bones  after  death,  and  to  do  this  is  looked 
upon  as  a  great  sin.  One  of  the  worst  curses  that 
can  be  pronounced  on  a  man  is,  '  May  your  bones 
be  disturbed !' 

Thursday  is  the  day  on  which,  according  to 
Moslem  belief,  the  spirits  of  the  dead  are  supposed 
to  visit  the  graves.  For  this  reason  the  people  go 
out  to  the  burial-ground  on  that  day,  and  sit  among 
the  graves.  Blind  men  also  are  sometimes  hired  to 
come  at  these  times  and  recite  passages  of  the 
Koran  there.  They  believe  that  the  spirits  know 
that  the  graves  are  thus  honoured,  and  that,  though 
we  cannot  see  them,  they  can  see  us  '  as  we  see  oil 
in  a  bottle.' 

After  a  death,  especially  that  of  a  person  of  con- 
sideration, friends  from  the  villages  round  go  to 
'  comfort '  the  relations.  They  take  a  goat  or  sheep 
with  them,  kill  it,  and  make  a  feast  to  console  them. 
This  may  be  done  at  any  time  from  five  days  to  a 
year.  They  stay  a  day  or  two  with  the  dead  man's 
relatives,  and  then  gradually  disperse  to  their  own 
homes.  A  similar  return  visit  has  to  be  paid  by 
the  relatives  subsequently.  These  occasions  are 
often  very  burdensome  to  the  poorer  people,  as 
they  borrow  money  to  meet  the  expenses,  the  debts 
thus  incurred  hampering  them  for  years  afterwards  ; 
but  as  they  would  be  considered  stingy,  an  epithet 
an  Arab  dreads  almost  more  than  any  other,  if  they 
omitted  to  observe  the  custom,  they  are  afraid  to 
drop  it. 



The  occupation  of  a  shepherd  is  contemporaneous 
in  its  origin  with  the  birth  of  the  human  race,  and 
shepherds  have  throughout  the  Bible  narrative 
played  an  important  part  in  the  history  of  the 
world.  Abel  was  a  keeper  of  sheep ;  Abraham, 
Jacob,  Moses,  David,  and  other  of  Israel's  heroes 
and  teachers,  have  been  shepherds,  and  have  fed 
their  flocks  on  the  hills  and  plains  of  the  Holy 
Land  or  the  neighbouring  countries  ;  while  the 
Scriptures  teem  with  incidents  connected  with,  and 
illustrations  drawn  from,  the  life  of  the  shepherd 
and  the  sheep. 

The  dependence  of  the  sheep  on  the  shepherd, 
and  the  intimacy  between  the  two,  is  infinitely 
closer  than  anyone  acquainted  with  our  Western 
flocks  would  at  all  suppose,  as  we  shall  see.  The 
shepherd  it  is  who  goes  out  with  the  flock  morning 
by  morning,  who  chooses  each  day  their  pasture, 
leads  them  when  thirsty  to  sjH'ing  or  brook,  and 
finds  a  cool  and  shady  place  where  they  may  rest 
during  the  heat  of  the  day.  He  it  is  who  guides 
them  safely  home  at  eventide  to  village  or  sheep- 

161  11 


fold,  guards  them  from  robbers,  and  protects  them 
from  wild  beasts.  In  the  bosom  of  his  inner  robe 
he  carries  the  young  lambs  when  weary ;  as  the 
flock  grazes,  scattered  over  the  plain  or  along  the 
hillside,  he  watches  over  it  with  ceaseless  vigilance, 
warns  the  stragglers,  goes  after  the  lost  ones,  and 
at  night,  when  in  the  wilderness,  lies  down  to  rest 
in  the  midst  of  them.  He  knows  each  of  his  sheep 
individually,  often  gives  them  names,  to  which, 
when  called,  they  respond,  and  his  voice  is  familiar 
to  them,  and  they  will  recognise  and  follow  it  out 
of  many  others. 

Goats  and  sheep,  flocks  and  herds,  have  ever  con- 
stituted one  of  the  principal  sources  of  wealth  in 
the  East,  and  have  been  always  one  of  the  chief 
objects  of  the  raids  of  the  Bedouin  and  other 
marauders.  This  latter  is  well  shown  by  the  fact 
that  the  ordinary  word  in  Arabic  for  spoil,  or  booty 
taken  in  war,  is  Gliandmeh,  from  Ghanam  (sheep). 
To-day  both  goats  and  sheep  are  of  the  utmost 
value  to  the  Fellahin.  The  milk  drunk  in  the 
country  is  almost  exclusively  that  of  goats  and 
ewes  (cows  are  scarcely  ever  milked,  except  in  the 
towns),  and  it  is  from  this  that  the  butter,  cheese, 
and  Leben  are  made.  Their  wool  and  hair  are  spun 
into  coarse  thread  ;  of  the  former,  strong  rough 
cloth  for  garments,  carpets,  and  bags,  is  woven,  and 
of  the  latter  is  manufactured  twine  and  rope  of 
various  thicknesses,  a  stout  material  for  saddle-bags, 
nosebags  for  horses  and  mules,  corn-sacks,  and  the 
black  haircloth  for  the  shepherds'  tents.  Their  flesh 
is  eaten,  the  horns  are  made  into  knife-handles,  the 

■f-    ■-. 


v        -         -  "V 

FIELDS  163 

skins  are  tanned,  while  the  hides  of  the  larger  goats 
are  stripped  off  entire,  and  when  dressed  become 
the  water-skins  so  familiar  to  all  dwellers  in  the 
towns  and  cities  of  the  Orient. 

The  life  of  the  shepherd  in  the  East  is  a  much 
more  arduous  one  than  that  of  their  English 
brethren.  With  the  exception  of  the  vineyards 
and  little  plots  of  garden  ground  where  cucumbers, 
melons,  tomatoes,  etc.,  are  grown,  the  country  is 
unenclosed,  and  therefore  the  shepherd  cannot  leave 
his  flock  in  a  field  #  during  the  day,  and  return  at 
night  knowing  that  he  will  find  his  sheep  there ;  he 
must  accompany  them  throughout  the  day  in  all 
their  wanderings  over  the  plains  or  along  the 
mountain-side,  and  never  lose  sight  of  them  for 
a  moment.  Morning  by  morning  he  takes  them 
out,  stays  with  them  all  day  long,  and  at  evening 

*  The  Hebrew  term  for  '  field,1  in  by  far  the  greater 
number  of  passages  where  that  word  occurs  in  our  Bible,  has 
no  such  connotation  as  that  of  the  English  word — viz.,  *  an 
enclosed  portion  of  pasture  or  arable  land ' — but  means 
merely  the  land  outside  the  city  or  village — in  other  words, 
the  open  country.  The  modern  Arabic  term  for  such  land 
denotes  uninhabited  or,  more  exactly,  uncultivated  land, 
and  is  often  the  exact  equivalent  of  our  word  '  wilderness ' 
(not  'desert1).  Such  terms  as  'down,1  'common,1 ' moor,1  would 
more  nearly  connote  the  idea  conveyed  by  the  Hebrew  and 
Arabic  words  than  does  '  field 1 ;  though  even  this  at  one 
time  probably  meant  the  open  country,  and  under  the  form 
4  fell 1  (compare  the  Dutch  '  veld  ')  does  so  still.  Such  lands 
in  Old  Testament  times  were  inherited,  bought,  and  sold, 
■equally  with  vineyards  and  other  enclosed  portions  (see 
Jer.  xxxii.  43,  44,  where  the  Hebrew  is  in  the  singular). 



brings  them  buck  to  village  or  fold.  When  thus 
putting  forth  his  sheep  in  the  morning,  bringing 
them  home  at  night,  or  leading  them  through  the 
day  to  fresh  pasture,  he  always  goes  before  his  flock 
(St.  John  x.  4) ;  but  when  the  sheep  or  goats  are 
grazing  he  lets  them  scatter  about,  following  them 
wherever  they  go,  keeping  a  watchful  eye  over 
them,  and  warning  them  whenever  they  are  going 
into  any  danger,  or  attempt  to  stray  into  forbidden 
places.  Often  on  the  hillside  the  shepherd  may  be 
seen  thus  watching  his  charge,  leaning  on  his  staff 
or  club,  his  form  as  he  stands  on  a  projecting  rock, 
or  little  knoll,  silhouetted  against  the  deep  blue 
sky.  Should  a  sheep  stray  too  far  from  the  flock,  he 
warns  it  by  a  shout,  and  should  this  be  unheeded  he 
will  throw  a  stone  near  it,  so  as  to  turn  it  in  the 
direction  he  desires.  I  have  never  seen  any  of 
them  purposely  throw  a  stone  at  a  sheep  or  goat, 
though  I  have  known  a  careless  aim  result  in 
a  broken  leg.  Each  shepherd  has  his  own  peculiar 
cry,  with  which  all  his  sheep  are  familiar,  and  which 
lie  always  uses  when  he  wishes  to  call  them  to  him 
or  to  get  them  to  follow  him. 

Some  years  ago  I  was  staying  the  night  in  some 
shepherds'  tents  in  the  Jebel  Ajlun  (Gilead).  The 
tents,  to  the  number  of  ten  or  twelve,  were  pitched 
in  a  wide  circle  enclosing  a  considerable  area.  In 
the  evening  some  six  or  seven  flocks  were  brought 
within  the  camp  for  protection.  In  the  morning, 
when  the  time  came  for  the  shepherds  to  take  their 
charges  out  to  pasture,  instead  of  attempting  to 
separate  their  respective  flocks  from  the  crowd  of 


goats  and  sheep  scattered  promiscuously  over  the 
enclosed  space,  each  man  went  a  little  way  beyond 
the  ring  of  tents,  and  standing  there  uttered  his 
special  call.  Instantly  the  whole  mass  of  sheep 
and  goats  was  in  motion,  and  as  the  shepherds 
continued  to  call  the  several  flocks  separated  them- 
selves, each  streaming  out  of  the  camp  in  the 
direction  of  their  respective  guides,  and  in  five 
minutes  not  a  goat  or  sheep  remained  inside. 
Looking  again  shortly  afterwards,  the  various 
flocks  could  be  seen  diverging  to  all  points  of  the 
compass,  each  following  its  own  shepherd  (St. 
John  x.  4,  5). 

The  shepherds  often  give  names  to  their  sheep. 
These  names  are  descriptive  of  some  trait  or 
characteristic  of  the  animal,  as  Long-ears,  White* 
nose,  Speckled,  and  so  forth.  Not  unfrequently 
the  sheep  get  to  know  their  names,  and  will  answer 
to  them  when  called  (St.  John  x.  3). 

Every  shepherd  worthy  of  the  name  knows  and 
recognises  his  charges  by  their  appearance,  and 
it  is  said  that  even  in  a  lame  flock  will  thus  dis- 
tinguish  each  one.  When  he  goes  over  them  to 
ascertain  if  all  are  there,  either  at  coming  home  at 
night  or  on  going  out  in  the  morning,  he  can  tell, 
without  counting,  whether  one  be  missing  or  not. 
Should  one  or  two  be  wanting,  he  knows  exactly 
which  they  are,  and  can  describe  them  accurately. 
If  at  any  time  a  shepherd  thus  finds  that  one  of  his 
sheep  is  missing,  he  will,  as  a  rule,  go  at  once  in 
search  of  it.  Not  very  long  ago  a  shepherd,  belong- 
ing to  a  village  no  great  distance  from  Jerusalem, 


discovered,  as  his  sheep  passed  before  him  into 
their  fold  at  night,  that  one  of  them  was  not  there. 
Accordingly,  he  set  out  to  search  for  it.  For  three 
days  he  wandered  about  seeking  it,  till  at  length 
he  came  upon  it  in  the  wilderness,  held  fast  by  one 
of  its  fore-feet,  which  had  become  wedged  in  a  crack 
of  a  rock  where  it  had  climbed  to  find  herbage. 

But  it  is  not  only  to  keep  them  from  straying 
that  the  shepherd  must  accompany  his  sheep.  Wild 
beasts  are  by  no  means  unknown  in  Palestine 
to-day,  in  spite  of  the  increase  of  modern  firearms. 
Especially  is  this  the  case  in  the  remoter  and  more 
rugged  districts  where  the  population  is  very  sparse, 
and  the  villages  few  and  far  between  ;  while,  when 
impelled  by  scarcity  of  food  they  will  haunt  the 
villages  and  suburbs  of  the  towns.  A  Bethlehem 
woman,  who  was  our  cook  for  some  time,  has  told 
me  that  once,  when  she  was  a  girl,  going  out  of  her 
father's  house  very  early  one  morning,  she  came  on 
a  bear  just  outside. 

Hyenas  are  common,  and  wolves  by  no  means 
rare,  and  the  latter  will  sometimes  attack  the  sheep 
in  broad  daylight.  In  the  summer  of  1901  I  was 
itinerating  among  the  villages  around  Jerusalem. 
One  day  I  sent  my  tent  on  in  advance  to  a  certain 
village,  bidding  my  servant  to  have  it  pitched  by 
the  time  I  arrived.  On  reaching  the  place,  I  found 
the  tent  erected  on  the  edge  of  the  village,  in  a  fig- 
garden,  and  a  number  of  the  villagers  awaiting  me. 
We  exchanged  greetings,  and  I  had  hardly  entered 
my  tent  when,  a  sudden  commotion  arising,  I  ran 
out   to   see  what  had  happened.      Two  flocks  of 

WOLVES  167 

sheep,    led    by    their    respective    shepherds,   were 
descending   the   opposite   side   of  the   valley   and 
converging    towards    the    village.      Just    at    this 
moment  the  men  around  my  tent  caught  sight  of 
a  huge  gray  wolf  ('  as  large  as  a  donkey,'  remarked 
one  of  them,  with  characteristic  Oriental  exaggera- 
tion) stealthily  making  its  way  towards  the  sheep, 
no  doubt  with  the  hope  of  picking  up  a  straggler. 
The  shouts  and  cries  of  the  villagers  warned  those 
in  charge,  and  alarmed  the  wolf,  who,  finding  he 
was  discovered,  slunk  off  in  another  direction.     A 
few  days  before  this  occurred,  at  another  hamlet  in 
the  same  district,  a  wolf  got  by  night  into  a  court- 
yard where  a  number  of  sheep  were  folded,  and  killed 
two  of  them  before  it  was  detected.     This  was  an 
unusually  audacious  thing  for  a  wolf  to  do,  as  they 
generally  shun  the  precincts  of  human  habitations. 
Probably  he  was  impelled  by  hunger,  as  that  year, 
from  some  unknown  cause,  there  was  a  remarkable 
scarcity  of  the  smaller  animals  on  which  they  prey. 
The  year  previous  to  this  was  one  of  abnormally 
scanty  rainfall  in  Western   Palestine,  with  conse- 
quent scarcity  of  pasture  for  the  flocks.     On  this 
account  one  of  the  peasants  belonging  to  a  village 
I  know  well  took  his  flock  of  forty  sheep  to  the 
Belka,  the  great  tableland  east  of  the  Jordan,  which 
once  formed  the  territory  of  Sihon,  King  of  the 
Amorites.      After    an    absence    of    many   weeks, 
having  heard  that  rain  had  fallen,  and  that  there 
was  grass  in  the  field  (Zech.  x.  1),  he  decided  to 
return  to  his  village,  and  accordingly  started  on  his 
way  home.     Sheep  are  proverbially  slow  travellers 


(Gen.  xxxiii.  13,  14),  and  after  several  days' journey 
the  shepherd  found  himself  one  evening  in  the 
wilderness  of  Judea,  to  the  west  of  Jericho.  He 
had  watched  alone  for  several  nights,  travelling 
during  the  day,  and  was  utterly  tired  out.  Gather- 
ing his  flock  around  him,  he  lay  down  to  rest,  and 
was  soon  fast  asleep.  While  he  slept  six  wolves 
came  down  on  the  sheep,  and  when  he  awoke  next 
morning  forty  mangled  carcasses  lay  about  him. 
When  the  poor  man,  heart-broken  at  his  loss,  got 
back  to  his  own  village  and  told  his  tragic  tale,  the 
villagers,  with  that  kindliness  which  is  one  of  the 
fine  features  of  their  character,  joined  together  to 
help.  One  gave  a  single  sheep,  another  two, 
another  three,  and  so  on,  thus  making  up  his  entire 

Another  man  told  me  how  once  he  was  out  with 
his  sheep  in  a  deep,  partially  wooded  valley.  As  he 
stood  watching  the  flock,  the  movement  of  some 
animal  making  its  way  through  the  scrub  down  the 
further  side  of  the  valley  caught  his  eye.  At  first 
the  creature  was  too  far  off  for  him  to  make  out 
what  it  was.  Presently  it  reached  a  stream  which 
flowed  along  the  bottom,  and  as  it  stopped  to  drink 
he  saw  that  it  was  a  large  wolf.  Crossing  the 
brook,  it  made  swiftly  for  the  sheep.  The  man 
hurried  down  to  meet  it,  but  the  beast  was  quicker 
than  he,  and  before  he  could  intercept  it,  had 
caught  a  sheep  which  had  strayed  too  far  from  the 
rest  of  the  flock.  The  wolf  had  seized  the  unfor- 
tunate creature  by  the  throat,  and  was  attempting 
to  drag  it  away  when  the  man  came  up  with  it. 


Leaving  its  victim,  it  turned  boldly  on  the  man, 
and,  seizing  his  knee  in  its  powerful  jaws,  buried  its 
fangs  in  the  flesh.  A  fierce  struggle  for  life  ensued, 
as  the  peasant  was  unarmed.  At  last,  however,  he 
managed  to  get  hold  of  a  large  stone,  and  gave  the 
wolf  a  blow  between  the  eyes,  which  partially 
stunned  it  and  made  it  let  go  its  hold.  Following 
up  his  advantage,  he  completely  disabled  it  with 
further  blows,  and  finally  crushed  its  skull. 

But  wild  beasts  are  not  the  only  enemies  shep- 
herds have  to  guard  against.  Thieves  and  robbers 
are  not  uncommon,  especially  where  the  villagers 
are  camping  out  with  their  sheep  in  the  open 
country.  Some  years  ago  I  was  riding  home  to 
Jerusalem  with  a  friend,  rather  late  at  night.  The 
sun  had  set  two  or  three  hours  previously,  and  there 
was  no  moon.  About  an  hour  from  Jerusalem  we 
passed  a  large  flock  of  sheep,  with  their  shepherd 
in  the  midst  of  them,  sleeping  out  a  little  off  the 
road.  As  we  drew  near  we  noticed  a  man  stealthily 
creeping  up  towards  the  sheep,  under  cover  of  a 
pile  of  stones,  with  the  evident  intention  of  stealing 
some  of  them.  We  forthwith  alarmed  the  shepherd, 
and  the  would-be  robber,  finding  that  he  was 
detected,  decamped. 

Such  attempts  are  usually  made  under  cover  ot 
darkness.  Sometimes  several  men  together  wTill 
organize  a  raid.  They  creep  quietly  up  from  different 
sides  till  they  are  in  close  proximity  to  the  Hock  on 
which  they  have  designs.  They  then  fire  several 
guns  simultaneously,  and  the  startled  sheep  spring 
up  and  scatter  in  all  directions.     The  robbers  seize 


as  many  as  they  can  conveniently  take,  and  are 
gone  before  the  owners  can  do  anything.  In  the 
case  of  such  an  attempted  raid  which  occurred 
within  my  own  knowledge  not  long  ago,  a  man 
succeeded  in  saving  several  flocks.  Three  or  four 
shepherds  were  spending  the  night  together  in  the 
open  country  ;  robbers  came  down  on  them  in  the 
way  I  have  described,  and  the  sheep  began  to  run 
in  all  directions.  Some  of  the  shepherds,  in  a  panic, 
ran  off  to  a  village  near  by  for  help,  but  one  of 
them,  with  great  presence  of  mind,  stood  up  in  the 
midst  of  the  sheep  and  loudly  uttered  his  special  call, 
at  the  same  time  whirling  his  Abba,  or  cloak,  round 
his  head.  At  the  sound  of  his  voice  the  sheep 
stopped  in  their  flight.  The  waving  of  the  cloak 
caught  their  eye,  and,  following  its  motion,  they 
came  circling  round  and  round,  getting  gradually 
nearer  and  nearer  to  the  shepherd,  till  at  length, 
with  the  exception  of  one  unfortunate  animal,  all 
had  been  brought  back.  But  for  the  prompt  action 
of  this  man  nearly  all  the  sheep  would  have  been 

In  most  flocks  there  is  a  leader,  either  a  goat  or 
sheep.  It  carries  a  bell,  and  is  frequently  orna- 
mented by  the  shepherd.  If  it  is  straying  too  far, 
and  the  shepherd  warns  it  by  throwing  a  stone  so 
as  to  fall  near  it,  it  will  usually  come  back  at  once 
to  him ;  but  should  it  not  do  so,  the  man  threatens 
it  with  his  stick,  when  it  will  instantly  run  close  up 
to  him. 

Sheep  or  goats  stolen  near  a  town  are  usually 
disposed  of  at  once  by  the  thieves  to  the  butchers. 


This  is  so  generally  recognised  by  the  Fellahin  that, 
should  a  shepherd  miss  any  of  his  charges,  and  have 
any  reason  to  suspect  that  they  have  been  stolen, 
he  commonly  sets  off  immediately  for  the  city. 
Arrived  there,  he  goes  to  the  slaughter-house  to 
see  if  he  can  find  his  missing  charges  ;  should  he 
succeed  in  doing  so,  the  animals  will  be  returned  to 
him.  If,  however,  he  be  unsuccessful,  he  inquires 
what  butchers  have  killed  that  day,  and,  going 
round  to  their  shops,  asks  to  see  the  heads  and 
hides  of  the  animals.  In  the  event  of  his  identify- 
ing any  of  his  property,  he  takes  the  head  of  the 
slaughtered  animal  to  the  authorities,  and  claims, 
and  frequently  obtains,  compensation  for  it. 

In  cases  where  a  sheep  or  a  goat  has  strayed 
from  its  own  flock,  and,  as  sometimes  occurs,  has 
joined  another,  should  its  former  owner  discover  it, 
he  can  claim  it.  If  he  can  prove  the  time  and 
place  of  its  disappearance,  and  these  tally  with  the 
circumstances  under  which  it  joined  its  present  com- 
panions, his  claim  will  be  allowed,  and  the  animal 
be  restored  to  him.  Not  only  so,  but  if  the  straying 
animal  be  a  ewe  or  she-goat,  and  have  in  the 
meanwhile  borne  lambs  or  kids,  both  it  and  its 
offspring  will  be  restored  to  the  original  owner 
when  once  the  claim  is  fairly  established.  I  knew 
of  a  certain  case  in  the  Jebel  el  Kuds  where  some 
years  elapsed  before  a  straying  ewe  was  traced,  but 
when  this  was  at  last  done,  not  only  the  sheep 
itself,  but  also  all  its  progeny,  amounting  to  twenty- 
one  head  in  all,  were  returned  to  the  former  pro- 
prietor.    There  is  among  the  Fellahin  a  kind  of 


code  of  honour  in  this  matter,  and  once  let  such 
a  claim  be  fairly  established,  but  few  of  them 
would  venture  to  repudiate  it.  Some  sheep  are 
peculiarly  prone  to  straying,  and  the  peasants  have 
a  special  term  for  such — Xadireh,  or  isolated. 

The  rule  mentioned  by  Jacob  (Gen.  xxxi.  39) 
still  holds  good  in  Palestine.  Whatever  be  stolen 
from  a  shepherd,  by  day  or  by  night,  he  has  to 
make  good,  the  supposition  being  that  the  loss  was 
due  to  negligence  or  lack  of  watchfulness  on  his 
part.  This,  however,  does  not  apply  in  the  case 
of  a  raid,  nor  if  the  sheep  have  been  carried  off  by 

As  the  summer  comes  on  and  the  weather  gets 
hotter,  the  herbage  becomes  dry.  The  sheep  and 
goats  begin  to  need  water,  which  is  not  the  case 
while  the  pasture  is  green  and  succulent.  The 
flocks  are  then  usually  watered  once  a  day,  about 
noon,  from  a  stream  or  spring,  or,  if  these  highly- 
prized  blessings  do  not  exist,  from  wells  or 
cisterns.  Many  of  these  cisterns  are  out  in  the 
open  country,  on  the  site  of  some  ancient  village 
which  has  disappeared  ages  ago,  or  found  dug  in 
a  long-forgotten  garden  or  vineyard.  In  such 
cases  a  large  stone  or  pile  of  stones  is  placed  over 
the  well's  mouth,  partly  to  prevent  the  water  being 
stolen,  and  partly  to  keep  animals  from  falling  in. 
This  practice  dates  from  remotest  antiquity,  as  we 
learn  from  Gen.  xxix.  1-10  and  other  passages. 
Sometimes  a  huge  circular  block  of  stone,  in  shape 
resembling  a  giant  millstone,  is  placed  over  the 
well.      This  stone  has  an  opening  in   the   centre 


large  enough  to  admit  the  easy  passage  of  a  bucket 
filled  with  water.  In  this  opening  a  closely-fitting 
pear-shaped  stone,  like  a  stopper,  is  inserted,  so 
smooth  and  heavy  that  it  is  almost  impossible  to  re- 
move it  with  the  hands  alone.  It  is  a  beautiful  sight 
to  watch,  as  mid-day  draws  on,  the  various  flocks, 
led  by  their  respective  shepherds,  converging  to- 
wards some  large  spring,  and  then  patiently  awaiting 
their  turn  to  come  at  their  master's  bidding  and 
quench  their  thirst  in  the  cool  rivulet. 

Throughout  the  hotter  months  the  sheep  are 
taken  to  some  shady  spot  to  rest  during  the  middle 
of  the  day.  A  grove  of  trees,  the  shadow  of  an 
overhanging  rock,  a  cave,  a  ruin — all  are  utilized 
for  this  purpose.  From  time  immemorial  the  shep- 
herds in  Palestine  have  done  this,  and  the  practice 
is  referred  to  in  the  words  of  the  Bride  (Cant.  i.  7) : 
'  Tell  me  where  thou  makest  thy  flock  to  rest  at 
noon.'  In  the  deep  valleys  which  descend  from 
the  tableland  of  Moab,  and  those  in  the  hills  about 
Es  Salt  (Ramoth  Gilead),  the  perennial  streams  are 
bordered  with  a  thick  growth  of  tamarisk,  oleander, 
and  tall  reeds.  Here  I  have  often  seen  the  shep- 
herds bring  their  flocks  at  noon  to  drink,  and  then 
rest  in  the  deep,  cool  shade  of  the  bushes  by  the 
water's  side.  David  had,  no  doubt,  often  done  the 
same  when  feeding  his  father's  sheep,  and  had  some 
such  scene  before  his  mind's  eye  when  he  penned 
the  words  (Ps.  xxiii.  2) :  '  He  maketh  me  to  lie 
down  in  green  pastures  :  He  leadeth  me  beside  the 
still  waters.' 

In  Carmel,  the  Jebel  Ajlun,  and  other  wooded 


districts,  the  shepherds,  when  in  late  summer  and 
autumn  the  pasture  begins  to  get  scanty,  often  cut 
down  the  large  boughs  of  trees,  especially  those  of 
the  evergreen  oak,  that  the  sheep  and  goats  may 
browse  on  the  foliage.  xVt  such  times  there  may 
be  often  seen  in  these  districts  an  expectant  flock 
round  one  of  these  trees,  waiting  patiently  while 
the  shepherd  climbs  up  and  with  his  axe  chops  off 
the  more  leafy  branches.  These,  as  they  fall,  are 
eagerly  seized  by  his  hungry  charges,  who  quickly 
devour  the  foliage  and  tender  shoots.  This  custom 
is  referred  to  in  Ezek.  xxxiv.  29,  R.V.,  and 
Mic.  vii.   14. 

The  practice  is  very  destructive  of  the  trees,  not 
from  the  removal  of  the  branches,  but  from  fire. 
The  boughs  are  left  where  they  fall,  and  as  the 
process  is  repeated  year  after  year  a  pile  of  sticks 
gradually  gathers  round  the  tree.  These  are  as 
dry  as  tinder,  and  a  light  carelessly  thrown  by  a 
passing  traveller  or  a  grass  fire  sets  the  whole  in 
a  blaze.  I  have  seen  oaks  which  probably  took 
hundreds  of  years  to  grow,  and  which  could  ill  be 
spared  in  such  a  treeless  land,  thus  destroyed  in  a 
few  hours. 

In  some  parts  of  the  Lebanon,  during  the  autumn, 
when  the  silkworm  season  is  over,  sheep  are  regu- 
larly fattened  with  mulberry-leaves,  which  are  care- 
fully gathered  by  hand  for  the  purpose.  The  leaves 
are  put  into  their  mouths,  and  they  are  forced  to 
eat  even  when  unwilling  to  do  so.  The  women 
may  be  actually  seen  working  the  poor  animals' 
jaws  with  their  hands  to  induce  them  to  go   on 


masticating  their  food.  This  hand-feeding  is,  how- 
ever, only  done  in  the  case  of  the  sheep,  of  which 
every  family  that  can  possibly  afford  it  buys  one 
at  least  to  feed  up  for  the  winter's  supply  of 
cooking  fat.  The  Syrian  breed  of  sheep  has  a  very 
large  broad  tail  consisting  almost  exclusively  of  fat, 
and  when  thus  fed  up  this  tail  becomes  of  an  enor- 
mous size,  yielding,  when  the  animal  is  slaughtered, 
many  pounds  of  a  very  delicate  fat,  which  is  highly 
prized  for  cooking  purposes.  In  the  Mosaic  ritual 
it  was  specially  ordered  to  be  offered  to  God 
(Lev.  iii.  9,  R.V.). 

In  the  winter  and  early  spring  many  of  the 
shepherds  from  the  villages  overlooking  the  Ghor 
take  their  flocks  down  there  to  graze.  If  a  fairly 
abundant  rain  has  fallen  in  the  autumn  in  the 
Jordan  Valley,  owing  to  its  warm,  almost  tropical 
climate,  a  rich  growth  of  vegetation  springs  up 
there  long  before  the  uplands  have  begun  to  get 
green.  At  such  times  thousands  of  goats  and 
sheep  from  the  villages  in  the  hill  country  may  be 
seen  there  knee-deep  in  the  luxuriant  pasture.  The 
shepherds  who  accompany  these  flocks  sleep  out 
with  them  in  the  open,  scorched  by  the  fierce  sun 
by  day,  and  shivering  in  the  relatively  cold  air  at 
night — just  as  Jacob  complained  to  Laban,  '  in  the 
day  the  drought  consumed  me,  and  the  frost  by 
night '  (Gen.  xxxi.  40). 

In  sparsely  inhabited  districts,  the  shepherds  who 
wander  about  with  their  flocks,  as  did  Jacob's  sons 
(Gen.  xxxvii.  12-17),  to  find  pasturage  for  them, 
sometimes  make  camps,  pitching  their  tents  for  a 


few  days  in  one  place,  and  moving  on  to  another 
when  the  grass  in  the  vicinity  has  been  eaten  up. 
This  is  the  thought  in  Hezekiah's  lament  (Isa. 
xxxviii.  12) — here  in  the  morning,  by  noon  gone, 
and  not  a  vestige  of  them  remaining. 

In  hilly  districts  caves  are  often  used  by  the 
wandering  shepherds  as  shelter  for  their  flocks  by 
night.  Especially  is  this  the  case  in  the  wilderness 
of  Judea,  that  bare,  treeless  tract  of  limestone  hills 
which  stretches  from  the  central  ridge  of  Palestine 
to  the  Dead  Sea  and  lower  part  of  the  Jordan 
Valley.  Here  it  is  common  to  find  caves  whose 
roofs  are  blackened  by  smoke,  with  little  heaps  of 
ashes  on  the  floor,  and  other  signs  of  human 
occupation,  while  a  low  semicircular  wall  of 
rough  loose  stones  guards  the  entrance.  These 
are  the  sheepcotes  (1  Sam.  xxiv.  3).  A  notable 
instance  of  them  is  the  huge  cavern  of  the  Mughar- 
at  ul  Jai  in  the  Wady  Suweinit,  near  Michmash, 
and  which  is  probably  the  rock  Rimmon  where 
the  600  fugitives  from  the  almost  exterminated 
tribe  of  Benjamin  took  refuge  (Judg.  xx.  47). 

The  late  Dr.  Edersheim,  in  an  interesting 
passage  on  the  appearance  of  the  angels  to  the 
shepherds  announcing  the  Saviour's  birth  ('Life 
and  Times  of  Jesus  the  Messiah,'  vol.  i.,  pp.  186, 
187),  infers  from  a  paragraph  in  the  Mishna  that 
the  Temple  flocks  in  the  vicinity  of  Bethlehem  lay 
out  all  the  year  round.  Owing  to  the  geographical 
position  of  that  place,  there  would  be  no  difficulty 
about  this,  even  in  the  coldest  weather.  The  little 
town  is  situated  on  an  outlying  spur  on  the  eastern 


side  of  the  great  ridge  or  backbone  which,  with  one 
single  break  only,  runs  down  the  entire  length  of 
Palestine.  In  front — that  is,  in  the  direction  of  the 
Dead  Sea — the  ground  falls  so  rapidly  that  it  would 
be  possible  in  quite  a  short  time,  and  at  no  very 
great  distance  from  it,  to  descend  as  much  as 
1,000  feet,  and  at  this  point  snow  would  never  lie. 

I  well  remember  riding  out  one  bright  Sunday 
morning  in  winter,  some  years  ago,  to  conduct  an 
Arabic  service  at  Bethlehem.  A  heavy  fall  of 
snow  had  taken  place  during  the  night,  and  the 
country  all  round  Jerusalem  was  covered  with  a 
white  mantle.  But  when  I  had  crossed  the  low  olive- 
clad  ridge  to  the  south  of  the  Plain  of  Rephaim, 
and  could  look  down  into  the  valleys  around 
Bethlehem,  I  saw  that  they  were  entirely  free  from 
snow.  At  some  700  or  800  feet  below  the  town  it 
ceased  abruptly,  and  there  was  a  sharp  line  of 
demarcation,  running  as  straight  and  true  as  if 
drawn  by  a  rule,  along  the  slopes  of  the  eastern 

Now,  the  phraseology  of  the  passage  (St.  Luke  ii.  8) 
would  seem  to  require  that  the  shepherds  should 
have  been  some  little  distance  below  the  town. 
They  were  '  abiding  in  the  field  ' — that  is,  the  open 
country  (see  note,  p.  163).  But  in  all  probability 
the  slopes  immediately  around  Bethlehem  were 
then,  as  now,  terraced  and  planted  with  olives, 
vines,  fig-trees,  etc.,  so  that  the  spot  where  the 
shepherds  were  watching  on  that  memorable  night 
must  have  been  some  place  below  the  zone  of 
cultivation.     Tradition   is   too   often    an    untrust- 



worthy  guide  as  to  the  location  of  sites,  but  in  this 
case  it  is  certainly  noteworthy  that  the  spot  which 
it  points  out  as  the  scene  of  the  appearance  of  the 
angelic  visitant  lies  far  below  the  town.  Other 
facts  point  in  the  same  direction,  one  of  them  being 
that  in  the  valleys  it  is  considerably  warmer,  and  the 
grass  springs  earlier  there  than  on  the  surrounding 
hills  ;  consequently,  in  winter,  flocks  are  often  taken 
down  there,  as  well  as  to  the  Ghor,  to  graze.  I 
once  passed  a  cold  night  in  January  in  the  Wady 
Mojib  (the  Arnon),  east  of  the  Dead  Sea.  The 
hills  above  us  were  white  with  snow,  but  none  was 
to  be  found  in  the  deep  valley  ;  while  a  large  flock 
of  goats  and  sheep,  under  the  care  of  two  shepherds, 
was  folded  for  the  night  in  a  large  shallow  cave 
within  two  or  three  hundred  yards  of  the  spot 
where  my  tent  was  pitched. 

Flocks  are  also  sometimes  taken  down  into  these 
valleys  from  the  higher  villages  on  the  approach  of 
bad  weather,  in  order  to  escape  the  cold  and  wet, 
and  to  find  pasture,  which  in  the  event  of  a  snow- 
storm would,  in  the  uplands,  be  buried.  This 
precaution  is  specially  needful  in  the  case  of  goats, 
which  are  much  more  sensitive  to  cold  and  wet 
than  sheep,  as  the  fleeces  of  the  latter  form  a  much 
more  efficient  protection  than  the  comparatively 
scanty  hair  of  the  former.  One  of  the  last  occa- 
sions on  which  I  stayed  at  Es  Salt  (the  ancient 
Ramoth  Gilead)  was  in  mid- winter.  One  morning 
I  discovered  that  no  milk  was  to  be  had  in  the 
town,  and  inquiries  elicited  the  fact  that  the 
weather  threatened  a  heavy  fall  of  snow  (which 


came  in  a  day  or  two),  and  all  the  goats  and  sheep 
had  been  taken  to  the  low-lying  valleys  in  order  to 
escape  it. 

Though  goats  and  sheep  are,  from  one  point  of 
view,  among  the  most  valuable  of  the  peasants' 
assets,  yet  in  one  particular  direction  they  do  great 
harm  to  the  country.  I  refer  to  the  way  in  which 
they  destroy  the  young  trees  and  shrubs.  This 
indictment  applies  more  especially  to  the  goats. 
There  is  hardly  anything  green  which  these  animals 
will  not  devour,  while  sheep  are  much  more 
fastidious.  On  this  account  goats  will  thrive 
where  sheep  would  starve.  In  the  open  country, 
where  there  is  scrub  or  brushwood  of  oak  or  tere- 
binth which  would,  if  left  a  few  years,  develop  into 
the  forest  trees  which  are  such  a  lack  in  Palestine, 
the  flocks  may  often  be  seen  browsing  on  the  leaves 
and  tender  shoots.  In  this  way  they  effectually 
prevent  the  growth  and  development  of  the  woods, 
which  are  at  the  present  time  probably  the  most 
urgent  need,  from  an  agricultural  point  of  view. 

In  the  late  autumn,  when  pasture  is  becoming 
very  scarce,  the  owners  of  vineyards  will,  after  the 
grapes  have  been  gathered,  allow  the  flocks  to  be 
turned  into  them.  It  would,  I  think,  be  hard  to 
parallel  the  picture  of  dreary  desolation  which  a 
vineyard  presents  after  it  has  been  thus  eaten  down 
by  goats  ;  and  no  more  fitting  or  more  graphic 
illustration  of  the  utter  ruin  of  the  country  could 
be  given  than  Jeremiah's  application  of  the  figure 
to  the  condition  of  Judah  and  Jerusalem  after  the 
Chaldean  invasion  (Jer.  xii.  10,  11). 

12 9 


The  shepherds  often  have  dogs  with  them,  not, 
as  in  England,  to  drive  the  sheep,  but  to  help  in 
guarding  them,  and  to  give  notice  of  the  approach 
of  robbers,  human  or  otherwise.  Though  they  are 
poor  mongrel  curs  compared  with  our  collies,  yet 
they  are  very  efficient,  and  are  often  really  brave. 
Three  or  four  years  ago  a  pair  of  leopards  was 
haunting  a  wooded  district  in  Central  Palestine, 
and  one  of  these  shepherd  dogs,  in  the  discharge  of 
his  duty,  boldly  attacked  one  of  them,  and  was 
killed  while  thus  endeavouring  to  guard  the  flock. 

The  shepherds  are  rarely,  if  ever,  the  owners  of 
the  entire  flock,  though  not  unfrequently  a  portion 
of  the  sheep  and  goats  may  belong  to  them.  For 
the  most  part,  especially  in  Western  Palestine,  they 
are  merely  hired  to  do  the  work.  The  rate  of 
wages  varies  a  good  deal  in  the  different  parts  of 
the  country,  but  more  especially  with  the  number 
of  sheep  or  goats  of  which  the  flock  consists.  In 
some  districts  the  shepherd  receives  a  certain 
amount  of  corn  per  head  per  annum.  More 
commonly,  particularly  if  the  flock  be  small,  he 
receives  a  trifling  money  payment,  about  tenpence 
per  head  per  annum,  his  food,  and  one  or  two  suits 
of  clothes*  yearly,  according  to  the  agreement  with 
him.  In  yet  other  places  his  remuneration  is  the 
milk  of  the  flock  every  other  day.  This  latter  only 
holds  good,  as  far  as  I  am  aware,  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  towns  where  there  would  be  a  ready  sale 

*  Compare  the  account  of  the  wages  given  by  Micah  to 
the  Levite  from  Beth-lehem-judah  whom  he  hired  to  be  his 
priest  (Judg.  xvii.  10). 


for  milk,  Leben,  butter,  and  cheese.  In  any  case, 
the  shepherd  is  allowed  free  use  of  the  milk  of  the 
flock  for  himself  (1  Cor.  ix.  7).  In  the  country 
east  of  the  Jordan  the  shepherd  receives  every 
tenth  lamb  or  kid  each  year,  and  thus  in  time 
becomes  the  owner  of  a  good  deal  of  the  flock. 
This  method  of  payment  is  often  preferred  to  any 
other,  as  the  shepherds  who  are  thus  paid  are 
considered  to  become  more  skilful,  and  to  take 
better  care  of  the  sheep  and  goats,  than  those  who 
are  simply  hirelings. 

In  the  maritime  plain,  as  soon  as  the  harvest  has 
been  reaped,  many  shepherds  from  the  villages  in 
the  hill  country  bring  their  flocks  down  there  to 
pasture.  The  owners  of  gardens  in  the  district 
build  large  enclosures  for  these  flocks,  with  a  room 
for  the  shepherd,  and  allow  the  free  use  of  them  for 
the  sake  of  the  resultant  manure,  which  is  highly 
valued  for  the  vegetable  gardens  and  as  fuel  for 
the  ovens.  In  these  folds  the  goats  and  sheep  are 
often  separated  at  night,  although  during  the  day 
they  graze  promiscuously.  Where  this  is  done  the 
sheep  sleep  in  the  open  courtyard,  while  the  goats 
are  in  the  inner  room.  The  reason  which  the 
Fellahin  give  for  this  separation  is  the  fact,  already 
mentioned,  that  the  goats,  having  a  much  scantier 
natural  protection  than  the  sheep,  are  far  more 
sensitive  to  cold  and  wet  (especially  to  snow),  and 
consequently  require  more  shelter  than  they  do. 
The  sheep,  too,  cannot  endure  a  close  atmosphere, 
and  must  be  in  the  open  air  if  they  are  to  continue 


In  the  spring  the  young  kids  and  lambs  are 
usually  not  allowed  to  go  out  with  their  mothers, 
as  they  would  not  stand  the  incessant  walking,  but 
are  kept  at  home.  When  a  little  older  they  are 
sent  out  for  a  short  distance,  in  small  flocks,  each 
flock  being  generally  in  charge  of  a  boy,  who  thus 
begins  his  training  for  the  work  of  a  shepherd. 

The  shepherds  are  almost  invariably  armed.  Many 
carry  some  sort  of  firearm,  frequently  of  a  very 
antiquated  pattern,  from  the  old  flint-lock  musket 
down  to  a  muzzle-loading  fowling-piece.  Others 
have  only  a  club  or  bludgeon,  perhaps  supplemented 
by  a  dagger  or  sling,  or  both.  This  club  is  about 
2  J  feet  long,  of  oak  or  other  heavy  wood,  with  a  head 
or  knob  as  large  as  a  good-sized  orange,  and  from 
which  it  is  colloquially  termed  Dubbus,  or  'pin.'  It 
is  in  the  hands  of  a  strong  man  a  most  formidable 
weapon,  and  with  such  a  club  it  is  easy  to  under- 
stand how  David  could  have  killed  either  lion  or 
bear,  or  any  other  wild  beast  that  he  might  have 
had  to  encounter  (1  Sam.  xvii.  34,  35).  About 
Es  Salt  a  club  of  a  different  kind  is  used.  Instead 
of  having  a  knob  at  the  further  end,  it  is,  for  the 
last  third  of  its  length,  somewhat  curved,  with  sharp 
angles,  a  section  of  this  portion  being  as  follows  <j> 
Like  the  JDubbus,  it  is  made  of  oak,  and  it  is  said 
that  a  powerful  man  has  been  known,  with  a  back- 
handed stroke  from  such  a  club,  to  cut  a  man's 
head  off — a  statement  which  is  by  no  means  in- 
credible. The  club  is  often  carried  by  being  thrust 
into  the  girdle,  where  it  is  available  at  a  moment's 
notice,  and  yet  leaves  both  hands  free. 


A  'scrip'  (1  Sam.  xvii.  40)  usually  completes 
a  shepherd's  equipment.  This  is  a  leather  bag,  the 
skin  of  a  kid,  or  other  small  animal,  stripped  off 
whole.  In  it  the  shepherd  puts  his  pipe,  flint  and 
steel,  tobacco,  and  flute,  and  any  other  little  things 
he  may  need.  Food,  also,  will  not  unfrequently 
be  carried  in  it,  especially  if  he  be  likely  to  sleep 
out  with  his  flock — a  few  loaves  of  bread,  a  hand- 
ful of  dried  figs,  or  some  olives,  to  give  a  little 
flavour  to  the  dry  fare.  It  was,  I  think,  most 
probably  the  contents  of  some  shepherd-lad's  scrip 
that  furnished  the  five  barley  loaves  and  two  little 
dried  fish  with  which  the  Lord  fed  the  five 

Cattle  are  tended  much  in  the  same  way  as  the 
sheep  during  those  seasons  of  the  year  when  they 
are  not  used  for  work.  They  are  sent  out  in  herds 
to  graze,  with  one  or  more  herdsmen  to  look  after 
them.  They  are  much  smaller  than  our  cattle,  and 
generally  in  but  poor  condition.  Most  of  the 
ploughing  and  threshing  is  done  by  their  means,  as 
will  be  described  when  we  come  to  speak  of  those 
occupations.  In  the  villages  the  cows  are  rarely 
if  ever  milked,  and  the  flesh  is  never  eaten.  In  the 
towns  it  is  only  of  late  years  that  cow's  milk  was 
procurable,  or  beef  to  be  seen  in  the  butchers' 

Like  the  sheep,  the  cattle  are  taken  into  the  Jordan 
Valley  to  graze  in  years  when  there  is  much  grass 
there.  During  the  time  they  are  in  the  Ghor,  the 
herdsmen  who  tend  them  (and  also  the  shepherds 
who  bring  their  flocks  down  there)  receive  special 


remuneration,  according  to  the  number  of  days  they 
are  absent  from  home.  These  men  keep  a  record 
of  the  time  spent  there  by  cutting  a  notch  on  a 
stick  for  each  day  they  are  in  the  Ghor,  much  in 
the  style  of  the  old  English  '  tallies '  in  the  days  of 
our  forefathers.  Boys  are  commonly  employed  to 
herd  the  cattle  when  grazing  in  the  open  country 
round  the  villages,  but  when  sent  to  a  distance 
they  are  committed  to  more  responsible  hands. 
Among  the  Druzes,  the  old  men  who  are  past 
ordinary  manual  labour  are  set  to  tend  the  herds, 
a  custom  which  is  the  object  of  much  ridicule  on 
the  part  of  their  Christian  neighbours.  Though 
extensively  employed  for  ploughing  and  threshing, 
I  have  never  seen  cattle  used  by  the  Fellahin  to 
draw  any  wheeled  vehicle. 

Around  the  Sea  of  Galilee,  in  the  district  about 
Carmel,  and  the  neighbourhood  of  Gaza,  buffaloes 
are  found  to  a  small  extent.  They  are  very  power- 
fid,  and  are  used  for  ploughing  and  similar  work ; 
but  though  closely  resembling,  if  not  identical  with, 
the  Central  African  species,  the  Palestine  buffaloes 
seem  very  harmless  and  inoffensive. 

The  camel  is  to-day,  and  probably  always  has 
been,  the  chief  beast  of  burden,  in  the  strict  mean- 
ing of  the  term.  It  is  only  within  the  last  twenty- 
five  years  that  there  have  been  any  roads  in  Pales- 
tine suitable  for  carts  or  carriages  ;  and  what  roads 
there  are  now  are  very  few,  and  chiefly  about 
Jerusalem.  Hence,  practically  all  the  heavy  traffic 
of  the  country  is  carried  on  by  means  of  camels. 
Some  of  the  peasants  get  their  living  by  camel- 



Tofacepagi  164 

CAMELS  185 

driving.  They  own  one  or  more  of  these  animals, 
and  hire  them  out  to  carry  goods  from  the  sea- 
ports to  the  interior,  from  town  to  town,  or 
from  the  villages  to  the  cities  and  towns.  Thus, 
nearly  all  the  building  stone  used  in  Jerusalem  is 
brought  into  the  city  from  the  quarries  on  the  backs 
of  camels,  and,  notwithstanding  the  existence  of  the 
railroad  between  Jaffa  and  Jerusalem,  much  of  the 
heavy  traffic  between  the  two  places  is  still  carried 
by  means  of  these  animals.  From  the  districts 
east  of  the  Jordan,  especially  the  rich  corn-lands  of 
the  Belka  and  Hauran,  nearly  all  the  grain  is  sent 
to  the  western  towns,  and  for  shipment,  by  these 

The  camel  is  by  no  means  a  pleasant  animal  with 
which  to  deal,  for  while  in  some  ways  exceedingly 
stupid,  he  has,  on  the  other  hand,  a  very  good 
memory,  and  never  forgets  or  forgives  an  injury. 
A  young  camel-driver  whom  I  know  was  on  one 
occasion  taking  a  load  of  charcoal  to  his  village. 
His  camel  was  going  along  very  sluggishly,  and  he 
gave  it  three  or  four  cuts  with  a  switch ;  this  the 
beast  greatly  resented.  On  arriving  at  his  destina- 
tion, he  asked  one  of  his  brothers  to  unload  the 
camel,  and  fasten  it  up  in  its  shed,  as  he  felt  sure, 
from  the  habits  of  these  animals,  that  it  would  take 
the  earliest  opportunity  of  paying  off  its  score.  The 
brother  did  so,  feeding  the  beast  and  securing  it 
for  the  night.  Later  in  the  evening  the  young- 
man  had  occasion  to  fetch  something  from  the 
shed  where  the  camel  was  stabled.  He  rather 
incautiously  got  within  reach  of  the  animal,  which 


was  watching  its  opportunity.  Quick  as  lightning 
the  creature  seized  the  man  by  the  arm  with  its 
huge  jaws,  making  the  teeth  meet  in  the  flesh,  and 
shook  him  as  a  terrier  shakes  a  rat,  finally  flinging 
him,  bruised  and  bleeding,  with  great  violence 
against  the  wall. 

A  Fellah  from  a  village  in  Southern  Palestine, 
who  owned  a  number  of  camels,  once  told  me  how, 
on  a  certain  occasion,  he  beat  one  of  them  for  lazi- 
ness. Next  morning  he  started  early,  with  some  other 
animals,  for  Jerusalem,  and  was  absent  for  about  a 
fortnight.  By  the  time  that  he  had  got  back  to 
his  village  he  had  forgotten  all  about  the  incident, 
but  not  so  the  camel.  The  instant  the  beast  caught 
sight  of  him  it  rushed  at  him,  hunted  him  all  over 
the  place,  and  would  undoubtedly  have  killed  him, 
had  not  some  men  come  to  his  rescue  and  beaten 
it  off. 

Camels  are  subject  to  a  good  many  diseases. 
On  one  of  my  numerous  missionary  journeys  I  was 
sitting  on  a  threshing-floor  talking  to  a  little  group 
of  men,  when  I  suddenly  heard  a  voice  behind  me 
say  :  '  Would  you  look  at  this  camel,  sir  V  Turning 
round,  I  saw  a  huge  snarling  beast  standing  over 
me.  '  What's  the  matter  with  it  ?'  I  asked,  *  Well, 
it's  got  the  toothache,'  was  the  reply, '  and  I  thought 
perhaps  you  could  pull  its  tooth  out  for  it.'  Cer- 
tainly the  poor  creature  seemed  in  much  pain,  for 
it  had  a  huge  swollen  cheek,  caused  by  a  large 
abscess  at  the  root  of  the  tooth.  But  a  camel,  even 
when  in  good  health,  is,  to  put  it  mildly,  not  a 
sweet-tempered  animal ;  and  one  with  the  tooth- 


ache Well,  I  hope  I  was  truly  sympathetic, 

but  I  must  confess  that  I  was  much  relieved  to  be 
able  to  say  that  I  had  no  instruments  with  me. 

The  camels  are,  I  believe,  always  obtained  from 
the  Bedouin,  who  rear  very  large  numbers  of  them, 
which  they  sell  to  the  Fellahin,  frequently  stealing 
them  from  one  another  for  the  purpose. 

The  Arabic  word  for  camel  is  from  the  same 
root  as  one  of  the  commonest  words  for  '  beautiful,' 
a  term  which  in  its  masculine  and  feminine  forms 
is  frequently  used  as  a  name  for  boys  and  girls. 
For  long  I  used  to  wonder  how  the  Arabs  could 
possibly  associate  the  idea  of  beauty  with  the  ill- 
tempered,  mangy,  evil-smelling  beast  with  which 
one  is  so  familiar  in  Palestine.  But  I  found  that 
one  reason  of  their  ugliness  is  the  custom  the 
Fellahin  have  of  keeping  their  camels  close-clipped, 
and  when  I  had  seen  the  breed  owned  by  the 
Turcomans,  with  their  clean,  slender  limbs,  shaped 
like  those  of  a  greyhound,  and  their  long  necks, 
covered  with  great  dark  tawny  manes — almost 
like  those  of  lions — I  ceased  to  wonder  at  the 
derivation  of  the  word. 



In  no  country  of  the  world,  probably,  is  agriculture 
of  such  supreme  importance  to  the  inhabitants  as 
it  is  in  Palestine.  Palestine  has,  as  far  as  is  now 
known,  no  mineral  wealth,  neither  are  there  any 
manufactures  other  than  the  few  local  industries, 
wrhich  are  barely  sufficient  to  supply  the  local 
needs.  Consequently  the  country  has  nothing  in 
the  way  of  exports  with  which  to  pay  for  its 
imports,  except  the  products  of  the  soil,  as  wheat 
and  barley,  oil  and  wine,  etc. 

The  word  '  Fellahin '  (more  correctly  '  Fellahun ') 
is  the  plural  of  the  word  '  Fellah,'  a  word  in  the  form 
of  the  '  noun  of  intensity,'  as  Arab  grammarians 
call  it,  the  form  usually  employed  for  words  in- 
dicating trade  or  occupation,  and  derived  from  the 
verb  falah,  to  cleave  or  divide — i.e.,  the  earth ; 
another  '  measure '  of  this  same  verb,  aflah,  means 
to  prosper,  as  the  peasantry  were  formerly  the 
wealthy  people,  the  cultivation  of  the  soil  being, 
with  cattle-rearing  and  sheep-keeping,  the  chief 
source  of  wealth.  The  Fellahin,  thus,  are  the 
ploughmen,  or  farmers,  and  in  any  account  of  them 



the  subject  of  the  cultivation  of  the  soil  must  take 
a  foremost  place. 

The  soil  of  Palestine  is  for  the  most  part  a  dark 
reddish-brown,  naturally  suggesting  the  connection 
between  Adam  and  the  ground  from  which  he  was 
taken  ;  especially  is  this  colour  noticeable  when  the 
soil  is  newly  turned,  either  by  the  plough  or  in 

It  will,  perhaps,  be  simplest  to  speak  first  of  the 
tenure  of  the  land.  Till  within  recent  years — that 
is,  within  the  memory  of  many  still  living — the  land 
was  held  by  the  village  as  a  whole,  and  not  by  the 
individual  peasants.  Since,  however,  the  Ottoman 
Government  commenced  to  levy  taxes  on  the  land 
and  crops  it  has  become  chiefly  the  property  of 
individuals,  who  must  have  title-deeds  for  the  same, 
duly  registered  in  the  Government  offices. 

In  some  cases,  however,  land  is  still  held  in 
common,  and  before  the  ploughing  begins  it  has  to 
be  divided  among  those  villagers  who  wish  to  culti- 
vate any  of  it.  Not  all  will  wish  to  do  so  ;  but  in 
one  village  I  know,  where  land  was  held  in  common, 
the  following  method  was  adopted  for  dividing  it : 
As  soon  as  the  number  of  would-be  cultivators  was 
known,  the  land  was  marked  out  in  an  equal  number 
of  portions,  so  as  to  give  each  an  equivalent  number 
of  portions  of  good,  bad,  and  indifferent  soil.  Each 
candidate  brought  with  him  a  leaf  of  some  tree  or 
plant,  and  these  leaves  were  stuck  into  a  lump  of 
clay.  A  man,  not  a  candidate,  but  who  knew  the 
land  well,  was  called  in  and  given  this  lump  of  clay ; 
he  did  not  know  who  had  brought  the  different 



leaves,  and  therefore  was  perforce  impartial.  Taking 
each  leaf,  he  said,  '  Such-and-such  portion  to  the 
owner  of  this,'  and  so  on  till  all  was  allotted. 

There  are  three  descriptions  of  property,  viz.  : 
Amiri  (vulgarly  Mm),  or  Government  land  ;  Mulk> 
or  freehold  ;  and  Wakf,  ecclesiastical  lands,  or  lands 
in  mortmain.  The  land  of  cities  and  villages,  with 
their  suburbs,  is  freehold  ;  but  the  open  fields  are 
Government  land,  their  tenure  answering,  perhaps, 
more  nearly  to  our  copyhold  than  to  anything  else, 
the  Government  being,  however,  the  person  who 
claims  the  ground  rents.  No  one  may  build  on 
this  Government  land  without  permission  from  the 
authorities,  as  it  thereby  becomes  freehold,  and  so 
is  lost,  as  it  were,  to  the  Government.  But  anyone 
buying  a  vineyard,  or  any  other  piece  of  such  pro- 
perty, has  a  right,  should  he  so  desire,  to  build 
himself  a  dwelling-house  on  it,  but  even  in  this  case 
formal  permission  has  by  law  to  be  obtained.  Such 
lands,  if  not  cultivated  for  a  series  of  years,  lapse  to 
the  Government.  The  ecclesiastical  lands  ( Wakf) 
are  the  property  of  mosques,  churches,  schools,  or 
other  institutions,  religious  or  charitable.  Included 
under  this  head  are  lands  in  mortmain.  Persons 
sometimes  leave  property  to  their  families,  but,  in 
order  to  prevent  its  being  sold  away,  grant  it  by 
formal  deed  to  a  church,  mosque,  etc.,  on  the 
extinction  of  their  family,  so  that  as  long  as  there 
is  any  descendant  of  the  testator  existing  the  pro- 
perty cannot  be  claimed  by  the  church  or  other 
institution,  nor  will  the  law  allow  it  to  be  sold  out 
of  that   family.     No   lands   coming   under   either 


description  of  Wakf  can  be  sold,  except  by  permis- 
sion of  the  Sheikh  ul  Islam  in  Constantinople. 
This  difficulty  is  sometimes  got  over,  however,  by 
a  legal  fiction  known  as  Istibddl,  or  'exchange,' 
where  the  property  which  it  is  wished  to  sell  is 
supposed  to  be  exchanged  for  a  better  one.  Besides 
the  above  descriptions  of  property,  there  is  a  great 
deal  of  land,  and  much  of  it  some  of  the  best 
in  the  country,  which  is  the  Sultan's  personal 
property,  and  which  is  farmed  for  him  by  an 

When  land  is  sold,  if  there  be  trees  upon  it, 
these  are  not  sold  with  it  unless  this  is  specially 
agreed  upon,  and  entered  accordingly  in  the  deed 
of  sale.  The  purchase  by  Abraham  of  the  cave 
of  Machpelah  and  the  adjacent  land,  with  the 
trees  (Gen.  xxiii.  17),  shows  how  very  ancient  is 
this  custom.  It  is  no  uncommon  thing  for  the 
land  to  belong  to  one  man,  and  the  trees  to  another. 
I  know  of  a  case,  and  doubtless  there  are  other 
similar  cases,  where  the  ground  belongs  to  one 
village,  and  the  trees  on  it  to  another. 

In  another  case  land  was  purchased  for  philan- 
thropic purposes  by  a  committee,  of  which  I  was  a 
member,  but  we  were  only  able  to  buy  a  third  of 
the  trees — that  is  to  say,  we  did  not  buy  out  and  out 
one-third  of  the  total  number  of  trees  on  the  estate, 
but  a  right  to  a  third  of  their  produce. 

Should  the  owner  of  the  trees  allow  them,  by  his 
neglect,  to  disappear,  he  loses  all  right  over  the  land, 
and  cannot  replant  them.  On  the  other  hand,  the 
owner  of  the  trees  can  oblige  the  owner  of  the  land 


to  till  it,  as  otherwise  the  trees  deteriorate,  and 
their  value  is  consequently  diminished. 

Before  describing  the  actual  operations  of  agri- 
culture, a  few  words  are  necessary  about  the  climate 
of  Palestine  and  the  rains.  For  the  most  part  the 
climate  is  an  intensely  dry  one.  For  six  months, 
viz.,  from  the  end  of  April  to  the  beginning  of 
November,  there  is,  as  a  rule,  no  rain  whatever. 
Very  occasionally  a  shower  will  occur  in  summer, 
but  this  is  quite  abnormal.  By  the  end  of  the 
summer  the  herbage  is  dried  up,  except  in  the  rare 
cases  where  there  are  permanent  streams  or  irriga- 
tion, and  the  leaves  of  the  deciduous  trees  are  fall- 
ing, the  only  green  in  many  places  being  that  of  the 
olive.  The  passing  traveller  who  sees  the  shepherd 
leading  his  flock  over  the  bare  brown  hillside  or 
desert-like  plain  wonders  how  the  sheep  and  goats 
can  possibly  exist. 

The  winter  torrents  have  long  since  ceased  to 
run,  the  shallower  springs  have  become  dry,  and 
the  permanent  ones  have  shrunk  to  their  lowest 
ebb.  The  rain-fed  cisterns,  the  sole  water-supply 
of  many  a  village,  have  in  numerous  cases  been 
drained  to  the  last  drop,  and  in  the  majority  of 
those  which  are  not  exhausted  the  depth  of  water 
is  measured  by  inches  only.  The  SMrocco,  or  east 
winds  from  the  Syrian  desert,  have  swept  with  their 
scorching  breath  over  the  land.  The  heavy  red 
loam,  which  constitutes  so  large  a  part  of  the 
arable  soil  of  Palestine,  is  baked  into  strong  clods 
which  the  feeble  plough  cannot  break.  Wild  birds 
and  animals  have  become  bold  in  their  thirst,  and 


there  is  an  intensity  of  longing  for  the  rain,  unknown 
in  more-favoured  lands.  About  the  end  of  October 
or  beginning  of  November,  in  favourable  years, 
clouds  begin  to  gather  on  the  western  horizon, 
especially  at  sunset.  Distant  lightning  plays  across 
the  sky,  and  an  occasional  shower,  chiefly  at  night, 
gives  promise  of  what  is  to  follow.  After  a  few 
days  the  clouds  gather  more  thickly,  the  roll  of 
thunder  is  heard,, and  finally  the  windows  of  heaven 
seem  to  open,  and  torrents  of  rain  descend.  The 
Fellahin  have  seen  the  storm  coming,  and  all  pre- 
parations have  been  made.  The  earthen  roofs  of 
the  houses  have  been  repaired,  fresh  soil  having 
been  scattered  over  them  and  rolled  hard  ;  the 
underground  cisterns  have  been  cleared  out,  and 
the  channels  leading  to  them  put  in  order ;  oxen 
have  been  bought  or  trained ;  ploughs  have  been 
mended  and  goads  put  in  order,  or  new  ones  pro- 
cured ;  the  earth  round  the  fruit-trees  has  been 
hoed  up  ;  and  in  the  plains  faggots  have  been 
placed  against  the  walls  of  the  houses  on  the 
weather  side,  in  exposed  situations,  and  especially 
at  the  corners,  that  the  rain  may  not  wash  away 
the  mud  of  which  they  are  composed. 

As  in  olden  days,  there  are  still  the  former  and 
the  latter  rains,  and  it  is  of  the  utmost  importance 
for  the  crops  that  these  should  fall  in  their  due 
season  (Deut.  xi.  14).  There  seems  to  be  a  good 
deal  of  confusion  in  some  Western  minds  about 
these  rains,  due,  probably,  to  the  fact,  often  for- 
gotten, that  the  Jewish  year  began  at  a  different 
time  to  ours.      The  ecclesiastical  new  year   com- 



menced  on  the  first  of  Nisan,  which  coincides, 
approximately,  with  our  April,  and  the  civil  year 
in  September.  Consequently  the  former  rains  will 
be  those  which  fall  in  our  autumn — October, 
November,  and  December.  This  is  what  in  normal 
years  is  the  case.  Then  usually,  from  about  the 
beginning  of  December,  is  a  period  of  dry  weather 
or  but  slight  rainfall,  while  from  the  middle  or  end 
of  January  the  latter  rains  may  be  said  to  com- 
mence, continuing  at  intervals  to  April,  or  occa- 
sionally even  to  May.  These  latter  rains  in  ordinary 
years  are  much  the  more  abundant  of  the  two, 
this  fact  being  probably  the  point  of  the  passage 
Zech.  x.  1. 

In  the  Lebanon  and  on  the  maritime  plain  of 
Palestine  the  rains  begin  earlier  than  they  do  in 
the  central  hill  region.  The  average  rainfall  of 
Palestine  proper,  as  far  as  accurate  observations 
have  been  made,  is  about  26  inches  per  annum,  but 
in  the  Lebanon,  and  probably  also  in  Northern 
Palestine,  it  is  a  good  deal  higher. 

The  most  suitable  time  for  the  rains  to  commence 
is  from  the  end  of  October  to  the  end  of  November. 
Should  they  begin  earlier,  there  is  too  long  an  in- 
terval between  the  former  and  the  latter  rains,  and 
the  corn  sown  then  withers  before  these  later  ones 
are  due.  Should  the  season  be  very  late,  there  is 
not  time  for  the  corn  to  fully  develop  before  the 
rains  finally  cease  and  the  hot  weather  sets  in. 

January  is  the  coldest  month,  but  there  is  popu- 
larly supposed  to  be  always  a  spell  of  sharp  weather 
about  the  end  of  February  and  the  beginning  of 

THE  <  BORROWED  DAYS  '  195 

March.  The  last  four  days  of  the  former  month  and 
the  three  first  of  the  latter  are  called  the  '  borrowed 
days,'  from  the  following  story  :  February,  so  it 
runs,  having  only  twenty-eight  days,  goes  to  March, 
and  says,  '  Oh,  my  brother !  lend  me  three  days, 
and  I  will  put  four  to  them,  and  we  will  make  it 
so  cold  that  the  old  woman  will  break  up  her 
spinning-wheel  to  burn  to  keep  herself  warm.' 

As  the  ploughing-time  gets  near,  the  Fellahin 
may  often  be  seen  trying  a  newly-purchased  yoke 
of  oxen  (St.  Luke  xiv.  19)  on  one  of  the  small 
enclosed  patches  of  ground  near  the  village,  or 
breaking  in  a  young  animal  that  has  never  before 
been  under  the  yoke.  In  the  latter  case,  an  older 
one,  accustomed  to  the  work,  is  always  yoked  with 
the  younger  one,  thus  helping  to  teach  it. 

When  the  rains  are  near,  or  when  only  a  small 
amount  insufficient  to  saturate  the  soil  has  fallen, 
they  sometimes  plough  over  the  ground  simply  to 
break  it  up.  No  seed,  of  course,  is  then  sown,  and 
the  furrows  are  wider  apart  than  when  the  regular 
ploughing  takes  place.  Where  ground  is  so  treated 
the  heavy  autumnal  showers  soak  in  more  thoroughly 
than  when  the  smooth,  sun-baked  surface,  trodden 
hard  by  the  flocks  and  herds,  is  left  in  its  natural 

In  some  few  cases  ploughing  and  sowing  can  be 
done  before  the  rains  come.  In  places  where  the 
soil  is  light  enough  to  allow  of  this,  as,  e.g.,  in 
some  parts  of  the  Belka,  east  of  the  Jordan,  I  have 
seen  considerable  tracts  sown  before  a  drop  of  rain 
falls ;  such  crops  are  called  '  Aj'ir.      This  practice 



has  one  advantage  over  that  usually  followed — viz., 
that  crops  so  sown  get  the  benefit  of  the  whole  of 
the  rainfall,  no  small  matter  in  a  hot  country  where 
the  cessation  of  the  rain  two  or  three  weeks  earlier 
or  later  may  make  all  the  difference  between  a  good 
and  a  bad  harvest.  On  the  other  hand,  weeds  are 
much  more  abundant  than  with  the  ordinary  method, 
thus  exhausting  the  soil  and  weakening  the  crop. 

In  the  late  spring  severe  thunderstorms  occur 
now  and  then,  accompanied  with  deluges  of  rain, 
which  sometimes  do  immense  harm.  Some  years 
ago  one  of  these  storms  took  place  during  the  feast 
of  Neby  Miisa.  A  party  of  Moslem  pilgrims  from 
a  village  about  three  hours  north  of  Jerusalem  was 
on  its  way  to  the  shrine,  their  road  being  along  the 
bottom  of  one  of  the  numerous  valleys  which  run 
down  from  the  central  ridge  towards  the  Gh6r. 
Seeing  the  storm  approaching,  they  all  took  refuge 
in  a  cave,  and  when  it  broke  torrents  of  rain  poured 
down  the  steep  sides  of  the  mountain  in  thousands 
of  tiny  streams,  increasing  in  volume  every  moment ; 
and  as  each  gully  and  glen  added  its  quota,  the 
valley,  which  had  been  as  dry  as  the  desert,  became 
filled  with  a  raging  flood,  which  swept  everything 
before  it  with  pitiless  power.  The  water  rose 
rapidly  to  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  and  the  people 
in  it,  seeing  their  danger,  sought  to  escape.  A 
man  took  his  two  little  boys,  one  under  each  arm, 
and  tried  to  struggle  through  the  torrent  to  the 
other  side,  but  first  one  and  then  the  other  was 
swept  from  his  grasp  and  drowned  before  his  eyes  ; 
and  of  all  the  people,  thirty  or  forty  in  number. 



1  m 


who  had  taken  refuge  in  the  cave,  scarcely  any- 
remained  to  tell  the  tale.  It  is  to  such  a  torrent 
coming  down  the  valley,  like  a  wall  of  water,  and 
sweeping  all  before  it,  that  Solomon  likens  the 
oppression  of  the  poor  (Pro v.  xxviii.  3). 

Should  the  rain  be  much  delayed,  and  the  crops 
be  in  danger  of  drying  up,  the  children  go  about 
the  villages  beating  drums,  old  tins,  or  anything 
else  that  will  make  a  noise,  shouting  and  singing  in 
chorus  the  following  words  :  '  Oh,  Lord  !  rain — oh, 
Lord !  a  torrent ;  water  Thy  thirsty  crops.'  The 
idea  in  children  doing  this  is  that  they  are  not  so 
sinful  as  the  older  people,  and  that  therefore  God 
is  more  likely  to  hear  their  prayers.  In  the  Jebel 
Ajlun,  on  the  other  hand,  in  seasons  of  drought, 
they  take  an  old  woman,  preferably  the  sheikh's 
wife,  and  putting  her  on  a  donkey,  with  her  face 
to  its  tail,  the  women  lead  her  round  the  village, 
singing  and  praying  for  rain. 

When  the  rain  has  fallen  in  sufficient  quantity? 
ploughing  and  sowing  begin  at  once.  The  seed  is 
sown,  usually,  on  the  unploughed  land,  the  plough 
following  immediately  and  turning  it  in  with  the 
soil.  The  share  does  not,  however,  turn  over  the 
soil  as  in  the  case  of  an  English  plough,  but  merely 
breaks  it  up  from  below,  the  seed  falling  in  between 
the  clods.  Besides  the  cases  where  land  is  partially 
ploughed  before  sowing,  as  already  mentioned, 
peasants  who  have  plenty  of  oxen  will  occasionally 
break  up  land  three  times  before  sowing  the  seed, 
this  latter  operation  taking  place  on  the  third 
ploughing,  and  where  this  is  done  the  crop  is  said 


to  be  always  superior  to  that  sown  on  land  ploughed 
but  once. 

The  ploughing  is  chiefly  done  by  oxen,  and  the 
ordinary  term  for  a  yoke  of  oxen,  Fcddan,  is  used 
for  the  area  which  they  will  plough  in  a  day. 
Although  there  are  no  hedges  or  walls  to  divide 
the  different  properties,  the  land  is  usually  ploughed 
in  small  plots,  a  furrow,  77////,  of  30  or  40  yards 
being  run  on  the  ground,  and  others  ploughed 
parallel  to  this,  till  a  piece  of  that  length  and  about 
half  the  breadth  is  finished  ;  and  then  a  second 
similar  piece  is  ploughed  next,  and  so  on  till  the 
whole  is  completed.  These  plots  are  called  McCandh. 
and  are  usually  one-third  or  one-fourth  of  a  Feddcui, 
and  in  some  parts  of  the  maritime  plain  this  is  used 
as  a  measure  of  land  instead  of  the  latter  term. 
In  the  hill  districts,  on  the  terraced  sides  of  the 
valleys  and  mountains,  the  shape  and  size  of  the 
piece  ploughed  at  one  time  is  determined  by  the 
dimensions  of  the  terraces.  Where  two  men's  land 
adjoins  each  other,  a  double  furrow  is  driven  be- 
tween the  two  plots,  and  piles  of  stones  are  set  up 
at  short  intervals  in  this  furrow.  There  is  a  refer- 
ence to  this  practice  in  Hos.  xii.  11,  the  idea  there 
being  that  the  altars  of  the  idolatrous  Israelites 
were  as  numerous  as  the  boundary  heaps  in  a  wide 
stretch  of  arable  land. 

Although  oxen  are  chiefly  used  to  draw  the 
plough,  yet  one  not  unfrequently  sees  oxen  and 
asses  yoked  together,  a  practice  forbidden  to  the 
Israelites  (Deut.  xxii.  10).  The  Fellahin  recognise 
the  disparity  of  such  a  pair,  and  often  contrive  to 



page  198. 


give  the  ox,  as  being  the  stronger  animal  of  the 
two,  the  outside  at  corners,  etc.  In  some  places 
they  use  camels  largely  for  this  work,  and  occasion- 
ally a  diminutive  donkey  may  be  seen  attached  to 
the  same  plough  with  a  tall  camel,  forming  as 
grotesquely  ill-matched  a  pair  as  it  is  possible  to 
imagine.  Mules,  horses,  and  in  a  few  districts 
buffaloes,  are  also  harnessed — the  two  former, 
singly,  to  a  plough.  It  is  said  not  to  be  unknown, 
either,  for  a  poor  man,  who  only  owns  a  single  ass, 
to  harness  his  wife  to  make  up  the  pair  !  Where  the 
land  is  fairly  level  it  is  common  for  the  people  to 
plough  in  company  (1  Kings  xix.  19),  and  on  the 
maritime  plain,  between  Jaffa  and  Gaza,  I  have 
seen  upwards  of  sixty  ploughs  at  work  at  one  time, 
in  a  comparatively  small  area. 

One  noticeable  feature  of  the  agriculture  of  Pales- 
tine is  the  Terraces— Hibdl  (lit.,  ropes  or  cords)— to 
be  found  everywhere  throughout  the  hill  country, 
and  attaining  great  perfection  in  the  Lebanon. 
The  sides  of  the  hills  and  valleys  are  often  very 
steep,  and  in  order  to  prevent  the  earth  being 
washed  away  by  the  heavy  rains,  as  well  as  to 
facilitate  cultivation,  are  carefully  terraced.  These 
terraces  are  formed  by  building  low  retaining  walls 
of  rough,  undressed  stone,  without  mortar,  in  lines 
parallel  to  the  line  of  the  valley,  the  earth  being 
levelled  up  behind  to  the  top  of  the  wall.  These 
terraces  vary  greatly  in  depth  and  width,  the  walls 
being  often  only  a  foot  or  eighteen  inches  in  height, 
but  sometimes,  where  there  is  a  line  of  natural 
rock  below  on  which  the  wall  rests,  7    or  8  feet, 


while  occasionally  they  are  much  higher  even  than 

The  natural  shelves  of  rock,  which  are  very 
characteristic  of  the  geological  formation  of  much 
of  Palestine,  no  doubt  originally  suggested  these 
artificial  terraces,  which  date  from  very  ancient 
times,  as  is  seen  by  the  traces  of  them  in  remote 
parts  of  the  country  where  there  has  been  no 
cultivation  for  ages.  In  the  districts  where  vine 
and  fruit-trees  are  grown,  the  terraces  add  much  to 
the  beauty  of  the  hillsides.  A  row  of  fig-trees, 
mulberries,  etc.,  will  often  be  seen  planted  near  the 
outer  edge,  where  the  soil  is  deepest,  and  in  the 
spaces  between  them  and  the  wall  of  the  terrace 
above  vegetables  will  be  grown,  or  the  land 
will  be  ploughed,  and  corn,  lentils,  or  other  crops, 
sown  there.  Vines  are  commonly  planted  close  to 
the  outer  wall,  the  branches  being  trained  so  that 
they  hang  down  over  it.  In  the  early  summer, 
when  the  vines  are  in  their  fresh  green  foliage,  the 
picture,  as  one  looks  at  such  a  terraced  hillside  from 
below,  with  cascade  after  cascade  of  brilliant  verdure 
relieved  by  the  darker  hue  of  the  olive  and  fig,  the 
warm  red-brown  colour  of  the  soil,  and  the  gray  of 
the  stone  walls  peeping  out  here  and  there,  is  very 

Where  there  are  no  trees,  as  is  commonly  the  case, 
the  terraces  look  like  a  great  staircase  of  irregular, 
uneven  steps,  ascending  the  hills.  In  places  these 
terraces  are  very  numerous,  especially  on  the  sides 
of  the  deeper  valleys,  and  in  the  Lebanon  I  have 
counted  between  seventy  and  eighty  of  them  one 


above  the  other  ;  and  very  likely  in  some  parts  there 
are  more  than  even  this  number  to  be  found  on  a 
single  hillside. 

When  men  are  ploughing  or  engaged  in  any 
other  field  labour,  they  usually  take  off  their  outer 
cloak,  or  sheepskin  coat,  and  throw  it  on  the  ground 
beside  them.  To  this  custom  our  Lord  alludes  in 
St.  Matt.  xxiv.  18.  The  assault  of  the  enemy 
would  be  so  sudden  and  unexpected,  that  he  who 
would  save  his  life  must  not  even  delay  long 
enough  to  go  back  the  few  yards  necessary  to  get 
his  clothes.  This  would  be  true  even  to-day  in 
Palestine  when  raids  are  made  by  robbers  or 

The  wooden  ploughs  which  are  universally  used, 
rude  and  primitive  as  they  seem  to  a  Western  eye, 
are  eminently  suited  to  the  work  they  have  to 
perform,  and  are  more  complex  than  would  appear 
at  a  hasty  glance,  having  been  probably  evolved, 
by  the  teaching  of  experience,  from  a  simpler  form. 
The  plough  itself,  apart  from  the  yoke,  consists  of 
six  main  parts  which,  with  slight  variations  of 
detail,  are  found  everywhere  throughout  the 
country.  The  most  important  part  is  the  elbow - 
shaped  piece  of  wood  (Dthikr) — No.  1  in  the  accom- 
panying sketch.  On  this  comes  the  main  strain, 
and  therefore  it  is,  I  believe,  invariably  a  naturally 
curved  piece  of  timber,  as  no  conceivable  joint 
would  stand  for  long  the  severe  work  thrown  on  it. 
On  the  lower  end  of  this  fits  the  iron  share  {Sikkeh), 
Xo.  2,  a  term  often  applied  to  the  whole  plough,  as 
in  the  saying,  '  April's  rain  is  worth  the  plough  and 


yoke  of  oxen.'  A  smaller,  slightly  curved  piece  of 
wood  (Rakub),  No.  3,  joins  No.  1  with  4  (Id  or  Ydd), 
which  is  dovetailed  into  the  former,  and  terminates 
in  a  cross-piece  of  wood  (Kabitseh),  No.  6,  the  two 
forming  the  handle  by  which  the  plough  is  lifted 
and  guided.  Into  the  upper  end  of  No.  1  is  secured 
a  long  pole  (Barak  or  'Oud),  No.  5,  and  to  this  a 
second  tapering  stick  is  fastened,  usually  by  a 
couple  of  iron  rings  (  JFasl),  No.  8,  which  completes 
the  implement,  this  latter  pole  being  attached  at 
its  further  end  to  the  yoke,  by  means  of  an  iron  pin 
(J aru?').  The  yoke  (Nir)  consists  of  a  long,  stout 
piece  of  wood  in  which  are  four  pegs  (Semnaneh), 
No.  1,  which  go  on  either  side  of  the  necks  of  the 
oxen,  and  are  secured  by  thongs  or  cords  (Shebak), 
No.  2,  under  their  throats,  one  of  each  pair  of 
cords  having  a  loop  at  the  end,  and  the  other 
a  wooden  toggle  (Asfureli).  These  cords  are  often 
made  of  hair  from  the  tails  of  cattle — hence  the 
proverb,  '  The  ox's  cord  [which  binds  him  to  the 
yoke]  is  from  its  own  tail.'  It  will  be  noticed  how 
little  iron  is  used  in  the  construction  of  these 
ploughs,  nails,  even,  being  for  the  most  part 
replaced  by  wooden  pegs,  and  consequently  there  is 
probably  more  yielding  of  the  whole  when,  as  is  so 
often  the  case  in  the  hilly  parts,  it  comes  into 
sudden  contact  with  a  hidden  rock  or  huge  stone. 

Spades  are  unknown  in  Palestine ;  a  broad  heart- 
shaped  hoe  is  used  instead  in  most  parts  of  the 
country,  and  in  the  sandy  districts  of  the  maritime 
plain  a  similar  instrument,  but  with  a  different 
blade,  somewhat  the  shape  of,  and  almost  as  large 


as,  an  English  spade,  is  ordinarily  found.  In  the 
mountains,  or  anywhere  where  the  soil  is  hard  or 
stony,  a  rude  kind  of  pick  is  employed — e.g.,  as  in 
breaking  up  the  corners  of  a  field  where  the  plough 
cannot  reach. 

When  the  corn  begins  to  grow,  the  weeds  appear 
with  it,  and  when  the  latter  attain  any  size  they 
are  pulled  up  carefully,  and  carried  away  in  bundles 
by  the  women,  being  used  as  fodder  for  the  horses, 
cattle,  and  camels,  a  custom  apparently  referred  to 
in  Prov.  xxvii.  25,  R.V.  In  the  Lebanon  the 
coarser  weeds,  thistles,  brambles,  and  such-like,  are 
cut  and  dried,  and  then  used  for  fuel  for  the  bakers1 

There  is  a  considerable  amount  of  irrigation  in 
those  parts  of  the  country  fortunate  enough  to 
possess  permanent  streams.  More  particularly  is 
this  the  case  in  the  Ghor  and  the  valleys  running 
down  into  it,  as  the  Zerka  or  Jabbok,  Nimrin,  and 
Yarmuk,  on  the  east,  Jalud,  Farah,  and  Aujeh,  on 
the  west,  all  of  which  have  perennial  brooks  of 
considerable  volume.  In  these  wadies,  and  the 
level  lands  along  their  courses  in  the  Jordan  Valley, 
immense  areas  are  ploughed  and  sown  every  year, 
and,  being  watered  by  these  streams,  are  independent 
of  the  rains,  producing  luxuriant  crops  of  grain 
even  when  the  harvest  is  a  failure  everywhere  else. 

To  come  suddenly  on  one  of  these  watered 
tracts  after  riding  for  hours,  or  perhaps  days,  over 
the  scorched,  verdureless  plains,  where  not  a  blade 
of  grass  nor  green  leaf  is  to  be  seen,  and  note  the 
abundance    of  life   in   all   its   tropical   luxuriance 



wherever  the  river  comes,  is  as  refreshing  as  it  is 

In  the  neighbourhood  of  Beisan,  where  there  are 
miles  and  miles  of  such  irrigated  lands,  tall  plat- 
forms are  erected  on  poles  among  the  growing 
wheat  and  barley,  and  on  them  are  perched  watch- 
men, as  the  grain  develops,  to  scare  away  the  wild 
birds  and  animals,  keep  the  cattle  from  straying 
into  the  crops,  and  give  warning  of  the  attempts  of 




AGRICULTURE   (cOTltimicd) 

As  might  be  supposed  in  a  country  where  there  is 
such  a  great  variety  of  climate,  the  time  of  harvest 
differs  much  in  the  various  parts.  Thus,  I  have 
known  the  new  barley  (the  earliest  crop)  on  sale, 
from  the  neighbourhood  of  Gaza,  in  the  middle  of 
March ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  I  have  seen 
barley  still  growing  on  the  higher  parts  of  the 
Lebanon  in  August.  In  the  neighbourhood  of 
Jerusalem  harvest  operations  are  ordinarily  in  full 
swing  by  the  end  of  April  or  the  beginning  of  May. 

When  the  corn  is  ripe,  the  whole  family  often 
goes  out  into  the  harvest-field.  Men  and  women 
take  part  in  the  reaping ;  the  elder  children,  boys 
and  girls,  drive  the  animals  which  carry  the  grain 
to  the  threshing-floors,  and  the  younger  children 
play  about ;  while  the  babies  are  hung  in  a  kind  of 
bag  to  a  tripod  of  sticks,  or  sheltered  under  a  cloak 
thrown  over  the  tripod. 

The  corn  is  cut  by  the  reaper  grasping  a  handful, 
some  distance  below  the  ears,  with  his  left  hand,  and 
severing  the  stalks  with  a  stroke  of  the  sickle  an 
inch  or  two  above  the  ground.     In  many  cases, 



especially  where  the  soil  is  shallow  or  stony,  the 
grain  is  pulled  bodily  up  by  the  roots.  The  corn  is 
placed  in  small  piles  on  the  ground,  and  usually 
carried  away  at  once  to  the  threshing-floors.  In 
the  maritime  plain  I  have  seen  low  stacks  of  corn 
on  the  field.  These  are,  however,  only  temporary, 
the  reason  of  the  corn  being  left  thus  being,  pro- 
bably, the  abundance  of  the  crop,  and  the  lack 
of  space  on  which  to  store  it  on  the  threshing- 
floors.  It  is  usually  carried  on  the  backs  of  animals 
from  the  field  to  the  threshing-floors,  being  cleverly 
tied  in  bundles  in  great  quantities  on  the  animal's 
back,  or  packed  in  nets,  and  thus  can  be  conveyed 
great  distances  over  rough  ground  without  loss. 
At  harvest-time  a  moving  mass  of  corn  may  often 
be  met  coming  along  the  narrow  paths  on  the 
mountain-side.  As  these  animated  ricks  approach, 
one  can  make  out  underneath  each  mass,  and 
almost  entirely  concealed  by  it,  a  diminutive 
donkey,  little  of  it  being  visible  but  its  head  and 
ears.  The  work  is  extremely  severe,  and  in  very 
hilly  districts  many  donkeys  are  worked  to  death 
during  harvest.  The  people  themselves  also  toil 
very  hard  during  the  brief  reaping-time.  I  have 
seen  them  busy  in  the  fields  at  three  o'clock  in  the 
morning,  long  before  daybreak. 

The  harvest  in  the  southern  part  of  Palestine, 
especially  in  the  plains  about  Gaza,  is  much  earlier 
than  in  Central  Palestine,  and  is  also  more  abundant, 
being  often  more  than  the  people  of  the  village  can 
reap  in  reasonable  time.  Consequently  they  are 
glad  to  get  outside  help,  and  many  of  the  Fellahin 


from  the  hills  go  to  the  plains  to  help  in  getting  in 
the  wheat  and  barley.  They  generally  receive  as 
wages  a  certain  quantity  of  cut  corn,  each  day's 
amount  being  known  as  Kirwek.  They  beat  out 
the  grain,  bringing  it  home  at  the  end  of  the 
harvest,  when  it  forms  a  welcome  addition  to  the 
year's  provision. 

People  will  also  not  unfrequently  help  friends 
and  neighbours  to  get  in  their  harvest.  Especially 
is  this  the  case  if  one  have  finished  before  another, 
or  if  anything  delays  the  threshing.  Sometimes  a 
dozen  or  more  men  and  women  may  thus  be  seen 
in  line  reaping,  and  it  is  astonishing  to  note  the 
rate  at  which  they  will  clear  the  ground. 

The  very  poor,  who  have  no  crops  of  their  own, 
glean  by  the  wayside  and  in  the  fields,  and  even 
sometimes,  by  permission  of  the  owner,  as  Ruth 
did,  among  the  sheaves  (Ruth  ii.  7,  15-17).  When 
they  have  gleaned  a  quantity,  they  take  it  to  some 
flat  spot  conveniently  near  and  beat  out  the  grain 
(Ruth  ii.  17).  The  straw  being  of  no  use  to  them, 
they  leave  it  there,  and  in  going  about  the  country 
at  this  season  one  often  comes  upon  little  heaps  of 
straw  by  the  wayside  thus  left  there  by  the  gleaners. 

As  the  corn  is  brought  in  from  the  field  it  is 
piled  up  on  the  threshing-floors.  These  are  open 
level  spaces,  in  or  around  the  villages  as  a  rule,  the 
floor  being  preferably  rock,  or,  failing  that,  hard 
flat  ground,  and  freely  exposed  to  the  wind.  Here 
the  corn  is  stacked  up  in  great  piles  preparatory 
to  threshing,  and  here  the  proprietor  spreads  his 
mattress  at  night,  sleeping  on  the  heap  of  straw  or 


beside  the  winnowed  grain,  to  guard  it  against  loss 
by  thieves  or  fire.  When  all  the  crop  has  been 
thus  brought  in  it  is  measured,  to  estimate  the 
amount  each  farmer  has  to  pay  towards  the  total 
sum  at  which  the  village  tithes  are  assessed,  and  no 
one  is  allowed  to  begin  threshing  till  this  is  settled. 

Some  hill  villages  have  land  both  in  the  hills  and 
in  the  plains,  the  latter  being  often  at  a  great 
distance  from  their  homes.  Where  this  is  the  case 
during  the  harvest  in  the  plains  (which,  as  already 
mentioned,  is  much  earlier  than  that  in  the  hills, 
the  difference  being  from  a  month  to  six  weeks, 
according  to  the  greater  or  less  difference  in  alti- 
tude), the  greater  part  of  the  population  of  the 
village  goes  down  to  the  low  ground  for  the  harvest 
and  threshing,  locking  up  their  houses,  and  leaving 
only  a  few  people  to  look  after  the  place.  When 
the  harvest  in  the  plain  is  secured,  or  that  in  the 
high  ground  is  ripe,  they  return  to  their  homes. 

When  all  is  ready  for  the  threshing,  and  the 
requisite  permission  has  been  given,  a  mass  of  corn 
is  piled  up  in  a  circular  heap  in  the  centre  of  the 
floor.  This  heap,  called  in  some  places  'Aram,  is 
from  20  to  30  feet  in  diameter,  and  about  3  feet 
deep.  Several  head  of  cattle,  with  perhaps  one  or 
two  donkeys,  fastened  together  by  their  headstalls, 
are  driven  round  and  round  on  this  pile  till  the 
grain  is  fully  separated  from  the  straw  and  the 
latter  is  broken  up.  When  the  string  of  animals 
has  been  going  round  and  round  in  one  direction 
for  about  ten  minutes,  it  is  stopped  and  made  to 
face  about,  the  animal  on  the  outside  now  taking  the 


inside,  and  proceeding  in  the  reverse  direction  for 
another  ten  minutes,  when  a  change  is  made  back  to 
the  original  order  and  direction.  This  is  continually 
repeated  as  long  as  the  animals  remain  at  work. 
As  this  treading  process  goes  on,  the  separated 
grain,  being  the  heavier  part,  falls  to  the  bottom, 
the  straw  which  remains  at  the  top  becoming 
gradually  broken  up  and  bruised,  till  it  somewhat 
resembles  the  chaff  used  for  feeding  horses  and 
other  animals  in  England.  The  whole  heap  is 
turned  over  now  and  then,  and  in  from  a  day  and  a 
half  to  two  days  the  process  is  complete. 

For  this  work  the  oxen  are  generally  shod  with 
iron,  and,  just  before  the  threshing  begins,  men 
whose  special  business  this  is  come  round  to  the 
different  villages  and  shoe  the  oxen  at  so  much 
a  head.  As  soon  as  the  Fellah  judges  that 
the  straw  is  sufficiently  crushed,  he  proceeds  to 
separate  it  from  the  grain.  The  greater  part  of 
this  straw,  lying  at  the  top  of  this  heap,  is  easily 
removed  by  hand  ;  but  much  still  remains  mixed 
with  the  grain,  and  in  order  to  separate  this,  as 
soon  as  the  breeze,  which  at  this  time  of  year 
usually  blows  from  noon  onwards,  gets  up,  he 
takes  a  wooden  fork  (Mithrd)  having  five  flat 
prongs,  and  with  it  throws  up  the  mixture  of  grain 
and  straw  several  feet  into  the  air.  The  corn  falls 
back  nearly  on  the  same  spot,  but  the  straw  is 
carried  a  longer  or  shorter  distance  according  to 
the  strength  of  the  breeze  (Ps.  i.  4  ;  Isa.  xvii.  13). 

This  straw  is  divided  into  two  parts ;  the  finer 
and  softer  parts  ( 7V/;;/)  are  used  as  fodder  for  horses 



and  cattle.  This  Tibn  is  a  very  important  product 
of  the  crop,  as  it  takes  the  place  of  hay,  which  is 
unknown  in  Palestine,  for  feeding  horses,  etc.  The 
length  of  the  stalk  of  the  corn  depends  largely  on 
the  amount  of  rain  which  has  fallen  during  the 
growth  of  the  plant.  Cceteris  paribus,  the  stalk  is 
always  shorter  than  in  England ;  and  in  years  of 
little  rainfall  the  yield  of  Tibn  is  consequently  very 
deficient,  and  the  cattle  suffer  considerably  as  a 
result.  Tibn  from  barley  is  the  best  for  fodder, 
that  from  whe°+  being  harsher  and  less  nourishing. 
The  coarsest  part,  consisting  of  the  joints,  lower 
parts  of  the  stems  and  roots,  called  Kashu,  is  used 
by  the  Fellahin  for  heating  their  ovens,  and  about 
Gaza  the  potters  buy  it  to  burn  in  the  kilns. 

The  method  of  treading  out  the  corn  just 
described  is  that  most  commonly  adopted,  but  in 
many  places,  instead  of  doing  this  by  the  feet  of 
cattle,  an  instrument  called  N&terqj  is  employed  for 
the  purpose.  This  consists  of  a  large  thick  plank 
of  wood,  turned  up  in  front,  and  hewn  out  of  a 
solid  piece  of  timber.  A  number  of  holes  are 
drilled  in  the  under  side,  and  into  these  are  fixed 
pointed  pieces  of  basalt  or  flint,  projecting  half  or 
three-quarters  of  an  inch  (Isa.  xli.  15).  The  corn 
is  put  in  a  heap,  as  described  above,  and  this  board, 
drawn  by  a  pair  of  oxen  or  a  single  horse  or  mule, 
is  driven  round  and  round  on  it,  the  driver  standing 
on  it  to  give  it  additional  weight,  and  so  make  it 
more  effective.  The  corn  is  separated  and  the 
straw  cut  up  rather  more  quickly  by  this  method 
than  by  the  other,  but  I  do  not  think  that  the 


resultant  straw  for  fodder,  the  Tibn,  is  of  so  good  a 

The  grain,  after  being  separated  from  the  straw 
and  chaff,  is  cleaned  from  earth,  etc.,  by  sifting  in 
a  sieve,  and  then  piled  up  in  a  heap  on  the  floor. 
This  heap  is  known  as  Salibeh,  from  the  word  for  a 
cross,  as  the  Christians,  and  many  Moslems  also. 
make  the  mark  of  a  cross  on  it  with  the  handle  of 
the  winnowing  fork,  for  good  luck,  sticking  the 
fork  afterwards  in  the  middle  of  the  heap,  prongs 
upwards.  The  grain  is  then  stored  away  in  the 
corn-bins  in  the  houses  or  in  sacks ;  the  Tibn  also 
is  stored  for  future  use. 

In  the  hill  districts,  in  a  few  villages  the  cattle 
treading  out  the  corn  are  muzzled,  though  in  most 
places  this  is  not  the  case,  and  they  are  allowed, 
as  they  tramp  their  weary  round,  to  eat  as  much  as 
they  please  (Deut.  xxv.  4  ;  1  Cor.  ix.  9).  The 
muzzle  where  used  is  of  two  kinds,  the  simpler 
being  a  ring  made  of  a  twig  of  mulberry  or  willow 
placed  round  the  mouth  of  the  animal,  and  kept  in 
its  place  by  two  strings,  one  on  each  side,  fastened 
to  its  horns  ;  the  other  kind  consists  of  a  sort  of 
wicker  basket  covering  the  mouth  and  nose,  and 
secured  in  the  same  way  as  the  other  to  the  horns. 

During  the  time  that  the  corn  is  being  trodden 
out  by  the  cattle  they  require  much  water,  as  they 
are  working  hard  for  many  hours  in  the  hot  sun  ; 
and  in  some  places  two  or  three  men  are  specially 
hired  for  the  purpose  of  drawing  water  for  the 
oxen  and  asses  to  drink,  receiving  as  wages  a  certain 
quantity  of  corn  per  head. 



Before  storing  the  corn  it  is  measured,  which  is 
done  in  the  following  manner :  The  man  who  does 
it  squats  down  on  the  ground  beside  the  heap  of  corn, 
with  the  measure  between  his  legs  ;  then,  filling  the 
measure  about  three-quarters  full,  he  gives  it  a 
vigorous  shake  with  a  rotatory  motion,  making  the 
grain  settle  closely  down ;  next,  filling  it  to  the  top. 
he  gives  it  another  shake,  and  then  proceeds  to 
press  the  corn  down  with  both  hands,  using  all  his 
strength  in  doing  so.  This  done,  he  piles  up  a 
conical  mound  of  wheat  or  barley,  gently  patting 
it  the  while  to  press  it  together,  and  from  time  to 
time  making  a  small  hollow  at  the  top,  into  which 
he  pours  the  corn  till  it  can  literally  not  hold  a 
grain  more.  This  is  the  way  corn  is  always 
measured,  and  to  give  less  than  this  would  not 
be  good  or  full  measure ;  it  is  to  this  universal 
custom  that  our  Lord's  words  (St.  Luke  vi.  38) 
refer.  To  measure  thus  is  called  'Arram,  one  of 
their  common  proverbs  being  suggested  by  it — 
'  'Arrim  li  wa  uarrim  lak '  (Give  me  full  measure, 
and  I  will  give  you  full  measure). 

In  counting  the  measures,  the  man  who  is  doing 
it  continues  calling  out  the  number  of  the  previous 
one  while  filling  the  next.  Many  Mohammedans, 
when  measuring,  say  for  the  first  one,  '  God  is  One/ 
and  for  the  next,  '  He  has  no  second,'  then  simply 
'  Three,' '  Four,'  and  so  on.  There  are  several  unlucky 
numbers,  the  first  being  five,  and  therefore,  instead 
of  saying  the  number,  they  often  say  '  Your  hand,' 
five  being  the  number  of  the  fingers  ;  seven  is 
another   unlucky  number,   strange  to  say,  and   is 


passed  over  in  silence,  or  the  word  '  A  blessing '  is 
used  instead  ;  at  nine  Moslems  often  say,  '  Pray  in 
the  name  of  Mohammed ';  eleven  also  is  not  un- 
frequently  omitted,  the  measurer  saying, '  There  are 
ten,'  and  then  passing  on  to  twelve. 

The  Kal,  or  standard  measure  of  corn,  varies 
greatly  in  different  parts  of  the  country.  In  some 
places  the  Sda  is  the  unit,  in  others  the  Midd. 
Again,  even  where  the  same  name  is  given  to  the 
measure  in  different  places,  the  capacity  is  not  the 
same :  thus,  the  Jerusalem  Sda  is  not  the  same  as 
the  Nablus  one ;  while  in  some  places  there  are 
two  measures  of  the  same  name,  being  distinguished 
as  '  the  measure '  and  '  the  large  measure.' 

When  the  Fellahin  take  their  grain  to  town  to 
sell  it,  a  professional  measurer  is  sometimes  called 
in,  who  receives  (in  Jerusalem)  half  a  piastre — about 
one  penny — for  each  Sda.  There  is  a  Government 
standard  measure,  but  in  the  villages,  especially  in 
the  more  remote  districts,  the  people  do  not  trouble 
themselves  about  such  things.  On  one  occasion, 
when  travelling  east  of  the  Jordan,  I  saw  a  man 
riding  along  with  a  corn-measure  hung  from  his 
saddle-bow,  and  on  being  asked  why  he  carried  it 
with  him,  his  reply  was  that  some  months  before 
he  had  purchased  corn  from  two  men  in  a  village 
near,  the  terms  being  that  at  harvest  he  was  to 
repay  a  certain  number  of  measures  of  grain,  the 
men  stipulating  that  the  same  measuring  vessel 
should  be  used  as  on  the  former  occasion,  and  he 
was  now  on  his  way  to  pay  his  debt. 

The  principal  crops  are  those  already  mentioned 


— viz.,  wheat  and  barley — but  there  are  many 
others  beside  them.  Lentils  and  a  species  of  vetch, 
the  seeds  of  which  are  used  for  feeding  cattle,  are 
widely  grown,  and  are  the  earliest  of  all  crops. 
Two  other  important  crops  are  millet — the  white 
variety,  which  is  very  largely  grown  in  the  maritime 
plain.  Jordan  Valley,  and  other  parts  where  the  soil 
is  deep  enough  and  sufficiently  rich — and  sesame 
(Sesamum  orientale).  This  latter,  which  is  familiar 
enough  by  name  to  readers  of  the  '  Arabian  Nights,' 
is  not,  as  frequently  supposed,  a  grain,  but  the  seed 
of  a  slender,  branched  herbaceous  plant,  18  inches  to 
2  feet  in  height,  with  pale  pink  bell-shaped  flowers, 
a  little  like  those  of  our  common  foxglove,  which 
are  succeeded  by  long,  narrow  pods  containing  a 
number  of  brown  seeds.  When  fully  ripe  these 
pods  open  at  a  mere  touch,  so  that  the  Fellahin 
cut  the  sesame  before  it  is  quite  ripe,  stacking  it 
usually  on  the  roofs  of  the  houses  till  fit  for  thresh- 
ing, when  the  seeds  are  beaten  out  with  a  stick. 
These  seeds  contain  a  large  quantity  of  oil,  which 
is  used  in  cooking  as  a  substitute  for  olive-oil  and 
animal  fats  ;  the  residue  after  the  oil  is  expressed  is 
used  for  feeding  goats  and  sheep,  which  devour  it 
greedily.  The  entire  seeds  are  used  in  some  sweet- 
meats, and  are  scattered  on  cakes.  Both  millet 
and  sesame  are  sown  in  the  late  spring,  and  are 
called  '  summer  crops.' 

In  the  plains  large  quantities  of  water-melons  are 
grown,  especially  in  the  sandy  soil  about  Ramleh 
and  Lydd,  and  are  sent  all  over  the  country.  As 
the  melons  begin  to  ripen,  little  booths,  consisting 


of  four  upright  poles,  with  a  light  roof  as  a  shelter 
from  the  sun,  are  'erected  in  each  patch,  and  here 
a  keeper  or  watchman  lives  for  weeks  guarding  the 

Tobacco  is  also  cultivated  to  a  considerable  ex- 
tent, but,  as  it  is  a  Government  monopoly,  managed 
by  a  syndicate,  it  can  only  be  grown  by  permission 
of  the  authorities,  who,  on  the  application  of  the 
villagers  of  any  place,  allow  a  certain  area  to  be 
planted,  buying  the  crop  when  ripe.  It  is  very 
remunerative,  and  so  various  attempts,  and  often 
successful  ones,  are  made  to  outwit  the  authorities, 
and  to  grow  much  larger  quantities  than  those 

Not  long  ago  information  was  sent  to  the  local 
representatives  of  this  syndicate  in  a  certain  district, 
about  the  time  that  the  plants  were  ripe,  that  a 
village  which  had  obtained  a  concession  for  growing 
tobacco  had  a  much  larger  area  sown  with  it  than 
was  allowed  by  the  permit.  Shortly  after  this  an 
official  of  the  syndicate,  accompanied  by  several 
mounted  gens  cFarmes,  arrived  one  evening  at  the 
village.  The  elders  of  the  place,  who  knew  very 
well  why  they  had  come,  received  them  most 
cordially  ;  they  were  conducted  to  the  guest-house, 
and  after  a  while  an  excellent  meal  was  put  before 
them.  Supper  over,  their  hosts  entertained  them 
with  interesting  conversation,  and  after  a  time  they 
retired  to  rest  well  pleased  with  their  reception. 
When  the  visitors  were  safely  asleep,  the  entire 
population  of  the  village  turned  out,  and  long  ere 
dawn  the  whole  of  the  extra  crop  of  tobacco  had 


been  harvested  in  excellent  condition,  and  not  a 
trace  left  on  the  plots  where  it  had  been  sown,  to 
show  that  there  had  been  tobacco  there  within 
the  memory  of  man.  Next  morning  the  official 
politely  intimated  to  the  sheikh  the  object  of  his 
visit,  and  was  assured  with  equal  courtesy  that 
every  facility  would  be  given  him  to  inspect  the 
crop.  This  he  proceeded  to  do,  when  it  was 
found  that  the  precise  area  mentioned  in  the 
official  permission  was  planted,  neither  more  nor 
less.  The  man  returned  home,  and  no  doubt 
reported  to  his  chief  that  the  people  of  this 
village  were  a  most  gentlemanly  set  of  men,  and 
that  the  report  about  the  extra  tobacco  crop  was 
a  malicious  invention. 

They  do  not,  however,  always  get  the  best  of 
such  attempts.  I  was  once  staying  for  a  couple 
of  days  at  a  Moslem  village  whose  inhabitants 
had  been  refused  permission  to  grow  tobacco 
that  year.  A  rumour,  however,  had  reached  the 
authorities  that,  notwithstanding  this  refusal,  the 
people  were  growing  it  as  usual,  and  a  man  was 
sent  to  investigate.  A  hint  that  he  was  coming- 
had  been  conveyed  to  the  villagers,  and  when  he 
appeared  on  the  scene  not  a  trace  of  a  tobacco- 
plant  was  visible  in  the  little  patches  of  land  in 
and  around  the  village  where  it  is  usually  grown. 
The  official,  his  wits  quickened  by  experience, 
suspected  certain  plots  whose  surface  was  some- 
what uneven,  though  no  one  not  trained  to  the 
work  would  have  thought  this  unevenness  more 
than  natural.     Sending  for  a  hoe,  he  quickly  laid 


bare  row  after  row  of  thriving  tobacco-plants,  so 
artfully  and  carefully  covered  over  with  earth  as 
completely  to  conceal,  and  yet  leave  uninjured,  the 
precious  crop.  A  few  minutes'  vigorous  work  with 
his  hoe,  however,  put  an  end  for  that  year  to  the 
villagers'  hopes  of  a  tobacco  harvest. 

The  people  of  some  of  the  villages  near  the 
Ghor  are  often  partners  with  the  Bedouin  there. 
The  latter  have  much  irrigated  land,  more  than 
they  need  to  supply  their  wants,  and  being  more 
indolent  than  the  Fellahin,  they  get  them  to 
assist  in  the  cultivation  of  their  land,  the  Fellahin 
taking  their  own  cattle  and  ploughs,  and  receiving 
one-fourth  of  the  produce  as  payment.  From  one 
village  north  of  Jerusalem  a  number  of  people  go 
every  year  to  the  Belka,  to  assist  the  people  of 
Madeba  in  ploughing,  as  the  lands  of  that  village 
are  so  extensive  that  they  have  not  men  or  cattle 
enough  of  their  own  to  get  the  work  done  in  the 
comparatively  short  season.  In  return  for  this 
help  they  receive  one-fifth  of  the  produce,  the 
owners  of  the  land  bearing  all  the  expenses  and 
finding  the  seed. 

In  the  case  of  friendly  help  from  neighbours,  the 
Fellah,  on  the  conclusion  of  the  threshing,  makes 
a  feast  to  which  he  invites  all  who  have  given  him 
any  assistance  in  getting  in  his  crops ;  this  feast  is 
called  Juralt. 

In  addition  to  the  crops  already  mentioned,  peas 
and  beans  of  various  kinds,  onions,  garlic,  tomatoes, 
carrots,  turnips,  beetroot,  maize,  cucumbers,  sweet- 
melons,  gourds,  egg-plant,  cauliflowers,  cabbages, 


etc.,  are  grown.  In  fields  of  cucumber  and  other 
vegetables,  the  booths  already  mentioned  under 
the  account  of  the  melon-fields  are  often  to  be 
found.  These  booths  or  sheds  are  frequently 
referred  to  in  the  Old  Testament  (Job  xxvii.  18, 
xxiv.  20;  Lam.  ii.  6;  Jonah  iv.  5),  and  are  very 
common  now.  They  vary  greatly  in  size  and 
durability.  Some  are  of  the  flimsiest  description, 
and  can  be  put  up  and  taken  down  in  a  few 
minutes,  which  is  doubtless  the  point  of  the 
allusion  in  Job  xxvii.  18.  They  consist  of  a  few 
leafy  boughs,  supported  on  four  sticks,  as  a  slight 
shelter  from  the  sun.  Some  are  much  more  sub- 
stantial and  roomy.  Indeed  it  is  not  uncommon 
for  a  whole  family  to  live  in  one  of  these  booths, 
in  their  vineyards,  throughout  the  summer,  es- 
pecially where  the  vineyard  is  at  a  great  distance 
from  the  village,  and  where  the  grapes  are  to  be 
chiefly  made  into  raisins.  Occasionally  a  broad- 
leaved  gourd  is  trained  over  the  booth  to  give 
additional  shade  (Jonah  iv.  6). 

In  such  a  dry  climate  as  Palestine,  every  spring, 
however  small,  is  utilized  to  the  utmost  for  irri- 
gating gardens  of  fruit-trees  and  vegetables,  and 
water  rights  are  therefore  very  valuable.  As  the 
springs  for  the  most  part  come  out  on  the  sides 
of  the  valleys,  it  is  easy  to  water  a  series  of 
terraces,  at  different  levels,  from  the  same  source, 
the  little  rivulet  sometimes  reaching  a  long 
distance  down  the  valley  before  it  is  finally  ab- 
sorbed. At  times  the  traveller  will  come  suddenly 
on  a  deep  glen  whose  brilliant  green  gardens  and 


fruit-laden  trees  form  a  striking  contrast  to  the  bare 
hillsides  around.  Descending  into  the  valley,  he 
will  find  issuing  from  a  mass  of  fallen  rocks,  gray 
with  the  storms  of  centuries,  a  little  thread  of 
water,  clear  and  cool,  which  runs  into  a  large 
open  cistern  hewn  in  the  solid  rock,  or  built 
on  the  side  of  a  natural  terrace,  and  carefully 
cemented  all  round  the  inside.  Here,  from  the 
neighbouring  village,  come  at  morning  and  even- 
ing troops  of  laughing  girls  or  careworn  women, 
with  their  pitchers  on  their  heads,  to  draw  water. 
Here,  too,  in  the  heat  of  the  day,  come  the 
shepherds  with  their  thirsty  flocks,  the  goats  and 
sheep  patiently  standing  waiting  their  turn  to 
come,  at  the  shepherd's  bidding,  and  slake  their 
thirst,  or  lying  quietly  chewing  the  cud  in  the 
shade  of  the  overhanging  rocks  or  under  the 
shadow  of  a  leafy  tree.  In  the  larger  cisterns 
the  boys  of  the  hamlet  at  evening  dive  and  swim, 
shouting  and  splashing  and  enjoying  the  fun  like 
any  English  lads.  The  cistern  has  a  hole  in  the 
outer  wall,  close  to  the  bottom,  for  the  purpose 
of  drawing  off  the  water  when  required.  From 
here  the  little  stream  flows  by  a  series  of  channels 
into  the  level  terraces  of  garden  ground,  these 
terraces  being  subdivided  by  little  furrows  into 
rectangular  plots  at  a  slightly  lower  level  than 
that  of  the  bed  of  the  furrow,  so  that,  when  a 
breach  is  made  in  the  little  low  bank  of  the 
latter,  the  water  flows  into  the  depressed  area  till 
it  is  full,  when  the  gardener  with  his  foot  or  hoe 
scrapes  the  earth  into  the  breach,  and  the  tiny 
rivulet  flows  on  to  another  plot. 


It  was  these  regular  plots  of  garden  ground, 
with  their  intersecting  water-channels,  which  the 
ordered  fifties  and  hundreds,  seated  on  the  green 
grass  at  the  miraculous  feeding  of  the  five 
thousand,  suggested  to  the  mind  of  St.  Mark, 
and  which  the  7rpo<Tiat  irpaauu  (chap.  vi.  39)  so 
graphically  describes.  The  gay  appearance  of  the 
multitudes  recalling  (as  some  writers  have  thought) 
the  bright  flower-beds  of  a  garden  is  an  idea  which 
would  never  occur  to  an  Oriental,  as  in  the  East 
flowers  are  not  thus  grown.  This  method  of  irri- 
gating is  the  watering  with  the  foot  (Deut.  xi.  10), 
so  characteristic  of  the  husbandry  of  Egypt,  though 
not  by  any  means  confined  to  that  land. 

In  the  maritime  plain,  especially  in  the  orange- 
gardens  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Jaffa,  irrigation 
is  carried  on  from  large  wells,  60  to  100  feet  in 
depth,  from  which  water  is  pumped  by  means  of 
an  endless  chain  of  earthenware  jars  or  wooden 
buckets,  passing  over  a  wooden  wheel,  and  dipping 
into  the  water  at  the  bottom.  This  wheel  is  on 
a  horizontal  shaft  which  carries  a  second  and  larger 
wheel,  and  rests  on  masonry  pillars  10  and  12  feet 
high.  This  second  wheel  really  consists  of  two, 
side  by  side,  about  a  foot  apart,  and  connected  at 
their  rims  by  a  large  number  of  bars  of  wood 
driven  through  both  at  short  intervals,  thus  form- 
ing rude  cogs.  Into  these  work  a  number  of  pegs 
fixed  in  the  rim  of  another  smaller  wheel  which 
is  fastened  to  a  vertical  shaft,  and  revolves  hori- 
zontally just  below  the  larger  one,  being  turned  by 
a  horse,  mule,  or  camel.     The  buckets  or  jars,  as 


they  turn  over,  discharge  their  contents  into  a 
large  cistern,  the  bottom  of  which  is  at  a  somewhat 
higher  level  than  the  surface  of  the  ground,  and 
from  which  a  number  of  cemented  conduits  or 
channels  conduct  the  water  to  every  part  of  the 
garden.  The  whole  apparatus  is  clumsy  in  the 
extreme,  and  there  is,  needless  to  say,  great  waste 
of  power,  but  the  creaking,  groaning  Sakiyeh  is  a 
great  feature  of  the  level  plains  of  Palestine. 

Yet  another  means  of  irrigation  from  shallow 
wells,  pools,  and  rivers,  is  the  Shaduf,  a  long  rod 
swinging  between  two  uprights  by  means  of  an 
iron  bar,  which  passes  through  a  hole  in  it  about 
a  third  of  its  length  from  the  bottom,  to  which 
a  heavy  stone  is  attached  in  order  to  balance  the 
weight  of  the  water  in  the  bucket,  which  is  fastened 
by  a  rope  to  the  upper  end.  This  Shaduf,  which 
is  so  characteristic  of  Egypt,  is  but  rarely  seen  in 

The  lack  of  water  is,  perhaps,  the  greatest  physical 
defect  of  the  Holy  Land  at  the  present  time,  and 
this  has  been  greatly  aggravated  by  the  cutting 
down  of  the  forest  trees.  Indeed,  it  may  be  said 
that  one  of  the  greatest  needs  of  the  land  at  the 
present  time,  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  agri- 
culturist, is  trees,  as  its  reafforestation  would  largely 
increase  the  volume  of  the  springs,  enabling  much 
more  ground  to  be  irrigated,  and  so  rendering  the 
people  less  dependent  on  the  immediate  amount  of 
rain  for  their  crops. 

At  the  time  of  the  conquest  of  Canaan  under 
Joshua,  large  tracts  of  country  were  covered  with 


dense  forest  (Josh.  xvii.  15,  18),  and  though,  no 
doubt,  much  of  this  was  cleared  by  the  Israelites, 
yet  a  considerable  area  at  subsequent  periods  seems 
to  have  reverted  to  forest.  Even  now,  here  and 
there,  in  remote  valleys  and  glens,  one  comes  upon 
patches  of  woodland  which  look  like  relics  of  former 
forests,  and  in  certain  districts  such  as  Carmel,  the 
Jebel  Ajlun  (Gilead),  Tabor,  and  some  of  the  valleys 
to  the  north-west,  west,  and  south-west  of  Hebron, 
considerable  areas  are  yet  covered  with  scrub  of  oak, 
terebinth,  oleaster,  arbutus,  locust-tree,  etc.  This 
scrub,  if  protected,  would  soon  develop  into  fine 
timber  trees,  but  charcoal-burners,  lime-burners,  and 
others,  are  allowed  to  cut  it  in  the  most  reckless 
fashion,  without  let  or  hindrance. 

The  goats  and  sheep  which  are  taken  to  these 
tracts  to  graze  are  also  responsible  for  much  damage, 
more  especially  the  goats,  as  they  are  fond  of 
browsing  on  the  young  shoots  of  the  shrubs.  Bush 
fires  do  a  great  deal  of  harm.  The  charcoal-burners, 
when  cutting  the  thicker  branches,  trim  off  the 
smaller  twigs  on  the  spot,  to  save  trouble ;  these 
drop  among  the  shrubs  and  soon  wither,  and 
become  very  dry ;  a  chance  light  sets  the  whole  in 
a  blaze,  and  acres  at  a  time  are  thus  destroyed. 

On  Carmel  and  in  the  oak-woods  in  the  hill 
country  east  of  the  Jordan,  the  same  wanton  destruc- 
tion of  trees  is  caused  by  the  custom,  mentioned 
elsewhere,  of  the  shepherds  cutting  down  branches 
from  the  trees  for  their  flocks.  The  branches  lie 
where  they  fall,  consequently  in  a  few  years  a  tree 
will  be  surrounded  by  a  pile  of  brushwood  as  dry 


as  tinder,  and  when  a  light  is  applied  it  burns  like 
gunpowder ;  I  have  seen  many  trees,  which  took 
centuries  to  reach  their  present  size,  killed  in  an  hour 
in  this  reckless  fashion. 

But  what  leads  to  even  more  regular  and  syste- 
matic destruction  of  the  small  amount  of  remaining 
forest  trees  than  these  causes  is  the  increasing 
demand  for  firewood.  As  the  European  popula- 
tion grows,  and  as  the  natives  adopt  more  widely 
Western  habits  and  luxuries,  there  is  a  largerdemand 
every  year  for  fuel ;  and  as  the  supply  grows  less, 
not  only  are  the  trees  cut  down,  but  the  very  roots 
are  grubbed  up,  so  that,  if  the  present  system  is 
allowed  to  continue,  the  little  wood  that  is  left  will 
soon  have  entirely  disappeared.  The  steam  flour- 
mills  are  the  greatest  offenders  in  the  matter,  as 
one  such  mill  will,  in  the  course  of  a  year,  consume 
more  than  hundreds  of  houses.  Many  olive-trees, 
too,  are  felled  every  year  for  the  same  purpose. 
The  poorer  peasants  have  often  nothing  else  sale- 
able ;  money  they  must  have  to  meet  the  Govern- 
ment demands,  and,  suicidal  though  the  policy  be, 
as  they  themselves  will  often  admit,  yet,  as  they 
truly  say :  •  What  can  we  do  ?  We  must  have 
money  to  pay  the  Government,  and  we  have  nothing 
else  to  sell  ?' 

Next  to  drought,  the  Fellahin  have  most  to  fear 
from  locusts.  These  pests  appear  from  time  to 
time,  and  occasionally  work  terrible  havoc,  utterly 
destroying  the  crops,  devouring  the  leaves  of  the 
trees,  and  even  eating  the  bark  of  the  twigs  and 
smaller  branches.     The  most  fertile  districts  when 


invaded  by  a  swarm  are  left  as  bare  as  the  desert. 
It  is  many  years  since  a  really  bad  visitation  of 
locusts  occurred  in  Palestine,  and  then  they  came 
two  years  in  succession,  ravaging  the  country  from 
end  to  end.  The  Fellahin  were  then  much  better 
off  than  they  are  now,  and  the  supplies  of  corn, 
dried  figs,  etc.,  were  sufficient  to  carry  them  through 
this  period  without  much  suffering ;  but  were  such 
a  calamity  to  befall  the  country  now,  it  M'ould 
mean  almost  certain  starvation  to  the  larger  number 
of  them.  The  year  after  the  locusts  the  land 
brought  forth  in  extraordinary  abundance,  and  men 
say  that  they  never  saw  such  magnificent  crops  as 
those  of  that  year. 

But  though  it  is  long  since  the  whole  country  has 
suffered  from  them,  local  visitations  are  by  no  means 
uncommon,  and  do  not  always  injure  the  crops. 
I  remember  one  such  swarm  in  the  Belka  in  the 
month  of  July.  The  harvest  had  long  been  reaped, 
and  as  there  were  no  vineyards  or  oliveyards  in 
that  part  of  the  country,  and  the  dry  straw  on  the 
threshing-floors  was  too  hard  for  them  to  eat,  they 
could  do  no  harm.  This  species  was  a  small  one 
and  covered  the  ground  in  all  directions,  rising  up 
in  clouds  under  one's  horse's  feet,  while  the  effect 
of  the  sun  on  their  light  gauzy  wings,  as  they  were 
borne  along  by  the  breeze,  was  that  of  a  fall  of 
living  snow. 

But  it  is  in  the  larval  and  not  in  the  adult  stage 
that  most  damage  is  done  by  this  scourge,  and  what 
the  Fellahin  specially  dread  is  the  arrival  of  a  swarm 
in  the  spring-time,  while  the  ground  is  soft,  so  that 
in  it  their  eggs  are  laid,  to  emerge  a  year  later  in 


a  countless  host  of  wingless  larva?,  each  one  of 
which  devours  thrice  its  own  weight  of  food  in 
twenty-four  hours.  The  extraordinary  fecundity 
of  this  insect  is  described  in  a  curious  Arabic 
proverb  which  runs,  '  The  locust  laid  a  hundred 
eggs,  and  remarked,  "  What  a  very  small  family  !"  ' 
When,  however,  the  soil  is  hard,  the  eggs  remain 
on  the  surface  and  are  devoured  by  birds,  or  are 
swept  away  by  the  heavy  autumnal  rains.  They 
are  then  also  easily  collected  by  hand,  and  during 
a  recent  invasion  of  locusts,  east  of  the  Jordan,  the 
local  authorities  ordered  each  person  in  the  district 
to  bring  in  a  certain  weight  of  the  eggs,  which 
were  then  destroyed.  The  locust  has  natural 
enemies  also,  which  destroy  vast  quantities.  A 
few  years  ago,  crossing  the  Plain  of  Jezreel,  I  saw 
millions  of  locusts  among  the  millet  (which  was 
just  in  ear),  and  scattered  over  the  plain  was  an 
army  of  storks,  eagerly  devouring  them.  Coming 
back  a  few  days  later,  over  the  same  line  of  country, 
not  a  locust  or  a  stork  was  to  be  seen. 

The  local  Government  usually  bestirs  itself  if 
there  be  any  real  threatening  of  this  plague.  A 
few  years  ago  a  large  swarm  appeared  near  Jericho, 
and  all  the  available  soldiers,  with  large  quantities 
of  petroleum,  were  sent  from  Jerusalem  to  destroy 
them,  and  numbers  of  men  and  boys  were  requisi- 
tioned from  every  village  in  the  district  to  aid  in 
the  work  of  destruction,  with  the  result  that,  assisted 
by  a  flock  of  storks  which  followed  the  swarm,  the 
locusts  were  practically  annihilated  and  the  danger 



agriculture  (continued) 

Palestine  is  a  country  specially  suited  to  the 
cultivation  of  fruit.  Of  fruit-bearing  trees  the  olive 
is  facile  prinveps  in  value  and  importance.  Indeed, 
the  olive  crop  is,  at  least  at  the  present  day,  of 
more  real  importance  than  either  of  the  grain 
crops,  wheat  and  barley.  It  is  a  highly  remunera- 
tive one,  and  on  it  the  Fellahin  largely  depend  to 
get  the  money  for  the  payment  of  their  taxes,  and 
other  expenses  for  which  actual  cash  is  required, 
and  so  a  failure  of  the  olive  crop  is  a  more  serious 
matter  than  a  failure  of  the  harvest. 

The  olive  abounds  in  Palestine  to-day,  as  it  has 
done,  in  all  probability,  from  the  very  earliest  days, 
and  forms  one  of  the  characteristic  features  of  its 
scenery ;  and  though  to  a  Western  eye  there  is  a 
stiffness  and  monotony  about  a  grove  of  olive-trees, 
yet  their  gnarled  trunks  and  silvery-gray  foliage, 
contrasted  with  the  rich  brownish-red  of  the  soil, 
have  a  peculiar  charm  of  their  own.  It  has  been 
cultivated  in  remote  ages ;  the  Israelites  were 
familiar  with  olive-oil  before  they  had  settled  in  the 
land  of  Canaan  (cf.  Exod.  xxvii.  20,  xxx.  24,  etc.), 



and  both  the  tree  and  oil  are  frequently  mentioned 
in  the  Old  Testament. 

It  is  propagated  both  by  seed  and  cuttings,  but 
most  commonly  by  the  latter  method.  The  olive 
has  the  property  of  sending  up  shoots  from  its 
roots  at  a  short  distance  from  the  trunk,  these 
shoots  developing  in  time  into  young  trees.  One 
or  more  of  them  may  be  seen  growing  near  most 
old  olives,  and  when  the  Fellahin  wish  for  young 
trees  they  dig  up  these  shoots,  detaching  a  certain 
amount  of  root  with  them,  and  plant  them  out 
wherever  the  new  tree  is  desired.  This  should  be 
done  in  the  autumn  after  the  first  rains  have  fallen  ; 
and  where  a  due  amount  of  the  root  has  been 
detached  with  it,  and  a  sufficient  amount  of  rain  or 
water  is  obtained  for  the  first  six  months,  the  young 
tree  almost  invariably  lives  and  takes  root,  and  in  a 
few  years  becomes  a  vigorous  fruit-bearing  tree. 

In  some  cases  two  or  more  of  these  shoots  may 
be  found  growing  round  one  tree ;  indeed,  I  have 
seen  as  many  as  five  or  six  of  the  scions  springing 
from  the  roots  of  one  old  olive,  and  this  is  un- 
doubtedly the  figure  in  Ps.  cxxviii.  3,  the  sons  and 
daughters  growing  up  around  the  father  being 
likened  to  these  young  olive-trees  springing  up 
round  the  parent  stem,  to  be  in  their  turn  trans- 
planted, and  to  become  the  centres  of  other  groups 
of  trees.  I  have  heard  a  statement  made  by  a 
resident  in  the  East,  that  the  spreading  base  of  the 
olive-tree,  where  it  joins  the  ground,  is  called  the 
•  table '  of  the  olive,  and  that  this  suggested  the 
figure  to  the  Psalmist.     I  have  never  myself  been 



able  to  find  such  a  use  of  the  word,  or  to  meet 
with  any  native  who  had  heard  of  it ;  still,  it  is 
quite  possible  that  such  an  expression  is  current  in 
certain  localities,  as  many  words  and  phrases  are 
confined  to  very  limited  areas,  and  it  is  never  safe 
to  conclude,  from  one's  knowledge  of  even  a  wide 
extent  of  country,  that  words  and  expressions  not 
known  there  are  universally  unknown. 

All  olive-trees,  whether  grown  from  seeds  or 
shoots,  even  if  taken  from  good  trees,  must  be 
grafted,  or  the  produce  is  of  no  value.  To  graft  a 
young  tree,  a  vigorous  branch  is  selected,  and  near 
the  base,  where  it  joins  the  main  trunk,  a  longi- 
tudinal incision  is  made  through  the  bark,  which  is 
carefully  raised  on  either  side  of  the  cut,  without, 
however,  detaching  the  bark  from  the  tree.  A 
graft  is  prepared  by  taking  a  healthy  twig  growing 
out  of  a  similar  branch  on  a  good  tree,  and  cutting 
out  this  twig  with  a  rectangular  piece  of  the  bark 
attached  to  it,  about  2  inches  square,  the  twig 
being  in  the  centre.  This  is  then  inserted  in  the 
incision  made  in  the  wild  tree,  and  under  the  raised 
bark,  which  is  then  bound  tightly  down  on  the 
graft.  The  whole  is  then  left  for  a  year  or  so, 
when,  if  the  graft  has  taken  proper  hold,  the  rest 
of  the  bough  immediately  beyond  it  is  sawn  ofT,  in 
order  that  all  the  nourishment  may  go  into  the 
twig  which  has  been  grafted  on. 

The  olive  blossoms  in  the  late  spring,  and  the 
fruit  takes  about  six  months  to  mature.  The 
flower  is  very  small  and  cream-coloured,  and  grows 
thickly  for  two  or  three  inches  along  all  the  outer 

*  SHIROCCO '  229 

twigs,  so  that  a  tree  in  full  blossom  is  a  beautiful 
mass  of  creamy  colour.  But  a  small  proportion  of 
the  flowers  '  set '  or  '  knot,'  to  translate  literally  the 
Arabic  term  ;  but  even  so  the  olive  is  very  prolific, 
and  the  weight  of  fruit  which  a  well-grown  tree 
will  produce,  under  favourable  circumstances,  is 
enormous.  The  crop,  however,  runs  a  good  many 
risks ;  heavy  rain  at  the  time  of  blossoming  will 
often  knock  off  the  blossom,  or  a  spell  of  very  hot 
weather  will  dry  it  up  and  make  it  fall  without 
setting.  Should  neither  of  these  misfortunes  befall 
it,  an  insufficient  rainfall  in  the  previous  winter  will 
cause  the  fruit  to  be  small  and  poor ;  or  should 
there  be  much  or  strong  SJiirocco  in  the  autumn, 
when  the  olives  are  approaching  maturity,  it  will 
shrivel  them  up  and  cause  them  to  drop  off.  This 
'shirocco'  is  a  scorching  east  wind,  the  word 
1  shirocco '  being  a  corruption  of  the  Arabic  word 
shirkiyeh,  the  feminine  form  of  the  word  for  east 
(the  noun  '  wind '  being  feminine  in  that  language). 
It  is  also  called  occasionally  Si  mum,  or  '  poisonous.' 
Coming  across  the  Great  Syrian  Desert,  it  is 
intensely  dry,  and,  except  in  winter,  hot.  It 
scorches  vegetation,  especially  in  exposed  situa- 
tions, often  turning  the  leaves  brown,  as  though 
frost-bitten.  Men  and  animals  suffer  considerably 
from  fatigue  and  exhaustion  while  it  continues, 
its  injurious  effects  on  the  animal  system  being 
attributed  to  the  absence  of  ozone. 

When  the  shirocco  is  very  strong,  the  air  is  filled 
with  fine  dust,  and  the  whole  atmosphere  becomes 
murky  and  most  oppressive.     In  Egypt  it  is  known 


as  Khamsin,  or  '  fifty,'  from  its  occurring  at  intervals 
during  a  period  of  about  fifty  days  in  the  spring. 
In  Palestine  this  shirocco  blows  chiefly  in  the 
spring  and  autumn,  April  and  May,  and  September 
and  October,  being  the  months  when  it  is  most 
frequent ;  and  it  lasts  generally  for  three,  six,  or 
nine  days  at  a  time,  but  may  continue  longer.  It 
also  blows  occasionally  in  the  winter,  and  is  then 
intensely  cold.  This  wind  is  probably  referred  to 
several  times  in  the  Old  Testament,  as,  e.g.,  in  the 
LXX.  version  of  Isa.  xlix.  10  ;  Ezek.  xvii.  10  ; 
Hos.  xiii.  15  ;  Jonah  iv.  8. 

The  olive  is  a  slow-growing  tree,  and  continues 
to  bear  for  centuries.  The  fruit  is  gathered  in  the 
autumn,  and  it  is  a  busy  time  when  a  village  has 
many  trees  or  the  crop  is  a  large  one.  In  the  case 
of  one  large  grove  near  Sidon,  said  to  be  the  largest 
in  Syria,  the  people  are  not  allowed  to  go  and 
gather  the  crop  till  a  time  appointed  by  the  local 
authorities,  in  order  to  prevent  persons  stealing  sur- 
reptitiously from  their  neighbour's  trees.  On  the 
day  fixed,  all  the  inhabitants  of  the  villages  which 
have  trees  there  go  down  and  work  continuously 
till  the  olives  are  all  gathered.  The  fruit  is 
gathered  before  ripening,  as  many  prefer  it  for 
eating  while  still  green.  For  making  oil,  however, 
the  fruit  must  be  left  to  ripen. 

To  prepare  the  green  olives  for  eating,  they  are 
usually  broken  slightly  first,  and  then  soaked  for  a 
while  in  water  to  remove  some  of  the  bitterness, 
after  which  they  are  pickled  in  salt  and  water,  with 
a  little  oil,  and  sometimes  a  slice  or  two  of  lemon. 

OIL  MILLS  231 

The  ripe  olives  are  pickled  whole  without  the  pre- 
liminary soaking.  The  best  oil  of  all  is  obtained 
from  fruit  which  falls  of  itself  from  the  tree,  but 
owing  partly  to  poverty,  partly  to  fear  of  theft, 
and  partly  to  improvidence,  the  olives  are  rarely 
thus  left.  The  gathering  is  done  by  beating  the 
trees  with  long  rods  (Deut.  xxiv.  20  ;  Isa.  xxvii.  12, 
R.V.).  In  the  Gaza  district  they  use  a  long  stick 
with  a  short  one  tied  to  it,  like  an  old-fashioned 
English  flail,  but  elsewhere  I  have  only  seen  the 
single  stick  employed. 

The  olives  having  been  gathered,  those  that  are 
intended  to  be  used  for  oil  are  taken  to  the  press, 
usually  without  any  preparation  ;  but  in  the  Jebel 
Ajlun  (Gilead)  they  are  stewed  over  the  fire  in  a 
jar,  either  without  water  or  with  only  a  very  small 
amount ;  they  are  then  spread  on  the  house-top  to 
dry,  after  which  they  are  ready  to  be  crushed. 
This  operation  is  carried  out  by  means  of  a  huge 
stone,  in  shape  like  a  large  grindstone,  the  principle 
being  that  of  the  familiar  mortar-mill  used  by 
builders,  except  that  in  place  of  the  revolving-pan 
there  is  a  solid  circular  block  of  stone  on  which 
the  grinding,  or  rather  crushing,  stone  runs.  The 
details  of  the  Badd,  as  it  is  called,  differ  somewhat 
in  different  parts  of  the  country,  but  the  principle 
is  the  same.  The  revolving  stone  is  moved  by  a 
horse  or  mule  generally,  but  sometimes  by  a  camel, 
and  even  by  men,  by  means  of  a  beam  of  wood 
passing  through  a  hole  in  the  centre  of  the  stone, 
and  kept  in  place  by  being  fastened  to  a  vertical 
beam  which  turns  on  a  pivot  in  the  lower  stone. 


After  being  crushed,  the  olives  are  sometimes 
put  in  jars,  and  left  for  two  or  three  days  before 
being  pressed,  but  more  commonly  this  is  done  at 
once.  The  black  pasty  mass  is  put  in  baskets 
made  of  a  tough  grass  which  grows  by  streams,  or 
wrapped  in  hair-cloth  similar  to  that  used  for  the 
tents  of  the  shepherds,  and  a  number  of  these 
baskets  or  bags  are  placed  one  above  another  in  the 
press,  and  pressure  applied.  The  native  wooden 
machine  consists  of  a  huge  beam  secured  at  one 
end  to  a  wall  by  a  rude  hinge,  while  a  great  wooden 
screw  passes  through  the  other  end  for  the  purpose 
of  raising  and  lowering  it.  The  baskets  are  piled 
up  under  the  lever  on  a  stone  slab,  with  gutters 
leading  into  a  stone  trough  ;  pressure  is  applied  to 
the  further  end  of  the  beam,  and  the  oil  flows  in 
streams  into  the  receptacle  made  to  receive  it. 
The  method  is  a  very  primitive  one,  and  much  oil 
is  lost  by  the  process.  In  some  cases  screw,  and 
even  hydraulic,  presses  have  been  introduced  from 
Europe,  yielding  a  much  larger  percentage  of  oil. 
When  expressed  it  is  put  in  goatskins  or  jars,  in 
which  it  is  taken  into  the  towns  for  sale.  It  is 
largely  employed  in  soap-making  as  well  as  in 
cooking.  Its  price  varies  greatly  from  year  to 
year,  according  to  the  quantity  in  the  market ; 
but  taking  it  altogether,  it  is  by  far  the  most 
valuable  product  of  the  country. 
vj/  Vines  are  cultivated  throughout  the  land,  both 
soil  and  climate  being  peculiarly  suitable  for  them. 
There  are  many  varieties,  which  are  made  use  of 
in  different  ways,  some  being  used  only  for  eating, 

VINES  233 

others  for  wine-making ;  some  are  employed  in 
making  a  kind  of  molasses,  and  others,  again,  are 
made  into  raisins. 

The  vines  need  a  great  deal  of  attention  if  they 
are  to  be  really  productive.  The  whole  vineyard 
must  be  ploughed  at  least  once  a  year,  or  the  vines 
rapidly  degenerate,  and  carefully  pruned,  or  else 
there  will  be  little  or  no  fruit;  while  during  the 
grape  season  they  must  be  constantly  watched  to 
prevent  the  grapes  being  stolen. 

In  some  districts  there  are  very  large  areas  under 
vines,  as,  e.g.,  about  Hebron,  Es  Salt,  and  some 
parts  of  the  Lebanon.  In  the  hill  country  they 
blossom  about  the  end  of  May  or  beginning  of 
June  ;  and  riding  through  these  districts  at  that 
time  of  the  year,  in  the  early  morning,  especially  if 
there  be  a  northerly  breeze  (Cant.  iv.  16),  the  air  is 
filled  with  the  delicate  and  refreshing  perfume  from 
the  long  clusters  of  minute  yellow-green  flowers. 

In  a  few  places  the  vines  are  supported  on  stakes, 
somewhat  as  one  sees  them  grown  on  the  con- 
tinent of  Europe  ;  but  usually  they  are  allowed  to 
trail  on  the  ground,  the  Fellahin  holding  that  they 
are  thus  less  injured  by  the  hail-storms,  which  occur 
about  the  end  of  the  rainy  season,  and  which  some- 
times destroy  much  of  the  blossom. 

Vineyards  are  almost  invariably  enclosed  by  a 
wall  (Jedar)  built  of  rough  stone  without  mortar, 
the  materials  being  found  on  the  spot,  as  the  stone 
used  is  generally  that  got  out  of  the  soil  in  pre- 
paring it  for  the  vines.  These  walls  are  often  in 
a   much   dilapidated   condition.     Frequently  very 


loosely  built,  a  dog  or  fox  in  its  efforts  to  scale 
them  will  sometimes  bring  a  piece  down  with  a 
run  (see  Tobiah's  taunt,  Neb.  iv.  3) ;  and  as  they 
are  merely  built  on  the  surface  of  the  ground,  with- 
out foundations,  the  heavy  rains  in  winter  often 
wash  the  soil  from  under  them,  or  so  soften  it  that 
it  yields  to  their  weight,  and  much  of  the  wall 

When  the  grapes  begin  to  enlarge  as  the  vintage 
draws  on,  the  walls  are  repaired,  and  very  often  a 
row  of  small  bushes  of  the  Netsh — a  low  thorny 
bush,  a  species  of  burnet — is  laid  along  the  top  of 
the  walls,  projecting  a  few  inches  beyond  it,  and 
kept  in  place  by  stones,  this  being  done  in  order  to 
prevent  the  dogs,  foxes,  and  jackals,  all  of  whom 
are  very  fond  of  grapes,  from  getting  over  the  walls 
into  the  vineyards,  and  stealing  the  fruit.  Some- 
times a  path  runs  between  the  vineyards,  having  on 
either  side  one  of  these  rough  stone  walls.  These 
paths  are  usually  very  narrow  and  winding,  so  that 
it  is  difficult  for  two  animals  to  pass  each  other, 
especially  if  either  of  them  is  laden.  It  was  in 
such  a  path  (which  the  Arabic  version  of  the  Old 
Testament  graphically  renders  '  ditch  ')  that  Balaam 
met  the  angel  of  the  Lord  (Num.  xxii.  24). 

Besides  these  walls,  most  vineyards  have  a  tower 
(St.  Matt.  xxi.  33),  built,  like  the  walls,  of  rough 
stone  without  mortar.  In  many  instances  the 
vineyards  extend  to  great  distances  from  the 
villages,  occasionally  as  much  as  four  or  five  miles, 
so  that  during  the  grape  harvest  the  owner  takes 
his  whole  family  out  there,  and  lives  for  several 


months  in  this  tower,  guarding  the  place  and  drying 
the  fruit. 

Some  of  the  towers,  especially  in  the  more  distant 
and  lonely  vineyards,  are  of  considerable  strength, 
so  as  to  be  veritable  places  of  safety.  ISTor  is  this 
uncalled  for  :  thieves  are  common,  and  fatal  affrays 
with  them  are  by  no  means  unknown.  In  the 
autumn  of  1897  a  notorious  thief  was  shot  dead  in 
a  lonely  vineyard  belonging  to  the  village  of  Ain 
Arik,  by  a  man  whom  he  attacked  in  order  to  rob 
him  of  his  scanty  crop. 

Besides  human  thieves,  the  foxes,  jackals,  bears, 
and  half-wild  village  dogs,  as  already  mentioned, 
are  fond  of  grapes,  and  make  raids  on  the  vineyards 
when  the  fruit  is  ripe,  while  other  and  more  formid- 
able wild  beasts,  such  as  wolves,  have  to  be  guarded 
against.  These  stronger  towers  are  built  in  two 
stories  of  a  single  room  each.  The  access  to  the 
upper  one  is  through  the  lower,  this  latter  being 
entered  by  a  low  doorway  from  the  vineyard. 
Some  rough  steps  lead  up  to  the  higher  chamber, 
and  a  slab  of  stone  is  placed  over  them  at  night, 
one  of  the  family  spreading  his  bed  on  it,  so  that  it 
is  impossible  for  anyone  to  enter  unobserved.  The 
walls  of  this  upper  room  are  only  about  4  feet  high, 
and  in  lieu  of  a  roof  a  kind  of  arbour  is  formed, 
supported  on  sticks,  to  give  protection  from  the 
sun  and  heavy  autumnal  dews,  a  vine  being  some- 
times trained  over  to  give  additional  shade. 

Large  quantities  of  grapes  are  made  into  raisins 
in  certain  districts,  those  of  Hebron  and  Es  Salt 
being   considered    the    best.      There    are    several 


qualities,  the  best  being  called  Sandt  esh  Sham,  or 
'  Daughters  of  Damascus.'  That  city  being  famous 
for  its  gardens,  its  name  has  come  to  be  applied  in 
Palestine  and  Syria  to  the  superior  sorts  of  fruit. 

To   make   the   raisins,    the   grapes,   after  being 
gathered,  are  dipped  into   a   lye  made   from   the 
ashes  of  the  evergreen  oak  or  terebinth,  both  hard 
woods,  the  lye  from  the  ashes  of  soft  wood  not 
being  considered  so  good.     The  lye  is  contained  in 
a  wide  shallow  vessel,  and  the  grapes,  in  a  wicker 
basket,  are  plunged  into  it  for  a  short  time  ;  the 
basket  is  then  withdrawn,  and  placed  over  a  similar 
but  smaller  vessel  to  drain.     The  grapes,  still  in 
the  bunch,  are  then  spread  out  on  a  smooth,  open 
piece  of  ground  in  the  vineyard  to  dry  by  the  heat 
of  the  sun.     This  takes  from  a  fortnight  to  three 
weeks,  according   to   the   weather,  much   dew  or 
mist   prolonging   the  process,   and   darkening   the 
colour   of    the    dried    fruit,    while   an    east   wind 
(shirocco)  expedites   it,  and   the  colour  is  conse- 
quently better.     While  drying,  the  grapes  emit  a 
peculiar  and  most  disagreeable  odour. 
^./-      Another  product  of  the  grapes  is  Dibs,  a  kind  of 
molasses  made  from  the  juice.     The  following  is 
the  way  in  which  it  is,  as  a  rule,  prepared  :  The 
grapes,  which  should    be  very  ripe,  are  sprinkled 
with  a  little  powdered  whitish  clay  called  Hoivtcar, 
and  piled  up  either  in  a  sack  or  loose  on  the  floor 
of  a  wine-press.     The  ancient  wine-presses,  of  which 
many  are  still  to  be  found,  are,  as  far  as  I  know, 
always  used  for  the  purpose.     These  wine-presses 
consist  of  a  shallow  rectangular  depression,  about 


4  feet  square,  sloping  to  one  corner,  and  carefully 
cut  in  a  suitable  piece  of  hard  rock.  From  here 
one  or  more  channels  run  into  a  smaller  and  much 
deeper  receptacle,  close  to  the  larger  one,  and, 
like  it,  hollowed  out  in  the  living  rock.  One 
often  comes  across  these  old  wine-presses  on  hill- 
sides where  now  there  is  no  cultivation — relics  of 
former  fertile  vineyards  which  flourished  in  the 
days  of  Palestine's  glory,  but  which  have  long  since 
passed  away.  Where  the  grapes  are  put  loose  on 
the  press,  flat  stones  are  placed  over  them,  on  which 
a  number  of  men  stand  till  all  the  juice  is  squeezed 
out ;  but  where  a  sack  is  used  the  treaders  stand 
directly  on  the  bags. 

The  expressed  juice  is  then  ladled  into  large 
caldrons,  a  fire  is  lighted  beneath,  and  the  juice 
carefully  boiled  down.  The  process  is  not  so  simple 
as  might  be  thought.  The  fire  needs  constant 
attention  and  regulation,  as  should  the  heat  be  too 
great  the  Dibs  will  have  a  burnt  flavour.  The  syrup 
has  also  to  be  skimmed  at  frequent  intervals,  as 
the  lighter  impurities  rise  to  the  top.  After  about 
thirty-six  hours'  boiling  it  is  reduced  to  one-third 
of  its  original  bulk,  and  is  sufficiently  cooked.  It 
must  now  be  left  to  cool  and  settle,  when  the 
powdered  clay,  already  mentioned,  carries  down  all 
the  coarser  impurities  in  the  form  of  a  dense  pre- 
cipitate, from  which,  when  cold,  the  supernatant 
liquid  must  be  carefully  poured  off;  otherwise  it 
will  not  keep  good,  but  after  a  while  ferments  and 
becomes  sour.  When  properly  prepared  it  is  thin 
syrup,  of  a  light  brown   colour  and   of  a  sweet, 


pleasant  taste,  When  kept  for  some  time  the 
water  evaporates  still  more,  and  crystallization  sets 
in.  It  is  eaten  by  the  natives  as  it  is,  or,  mixed 
with  flour  and  almonds,  is  made  into  various 

Palestine  being  a  Mohammedan  country,  the 
natives  make  little  or  no  wine,  though  considerable 
quantities  are  manufactured  by  Europeans,  and 
also  by  the  Jews,  the  latter  also  distilling  a  very 
strong  spirit  from  it. 
^C  E*&§  are  veiT  widely  grown,  and,  both  fresh  and 
dried,  form  an  important  article  of  food.  There 
are  many  varieties,  one  village  alone  being  said  to 
have  no  less  than  thirty  in  its  fig-groves.  Fig-trees 
and  vines  are  often  grown  together,  as  they  take 
different  substances  from  the  soil,  whereas  vines 
and  olive-trees  do  not  thrive  in  the  same  plot,  and 
are  rarely  planted  together.  This  fact  illustrates 
one  of  those  minute  little  touches  in  the  Gospels 
which  show  the  intimate  knowledge  of  the  land, 
and  the  precise  accuracy,  of  the  sacred  writings. 
1  refer  to  the  words  (St.  Luke  xiii.  6),  'A  certain 
man  had  a  fig-tree  planted  in  his  vineyard.' 

In  the  late  spring  or  early  summer  a  peculiar 
kind  of  fig  is  found  on  many  trees.  It  is  not  a 
different  species  or  variety,  as  it  occurs  on  all  sorts, 
but  it  is  found  from  two  to  three  months  earlier 
than  the  ordinary  crop,  and  grows  underneath  the 
leaf,  and  not  in  the  axil  as  with  the  regular  figs. 
The  Fellahin  have  a  theory  that  it  is  a  sign  of 
weakness  in  the  tree  which  produces  it.  It  is  very 
large  and  of  a  very  fine  flavour,  and  is  much  prized 


by  the  natives,  as  was  the  case  in  Old  Testament 
times,  as  we  see  from  Jer.  xxiv.  2  and  Hos.  ix.  10, 
where  it  is  called  the  '  first  ripe '  fig.  There  is  in 
Arabic  a  special  name  for  it,  ttuff'ur,  whereas  Tin 
is  the  word  used  for  the  ordinary  fruit. 

On  account  of  its  being  so  highly  prized,  and  as 
it  is  almost  the  earliest  of  any  fruit,  it  is  allowable 
for  anyone  to  gather  it  from  the  trees  as  they  pass. 
It  was  these  Uiiffur,  I  believe,  that  our  Blessed 
Lord  sought  for  on  the  barren  fig-tree,  and  not 
the  ordinary  fruit.  This  will  make  the  passage 
St.  Mark  xi.  13  quite  clear,  especially  if,  as  is  not 
unlikely,  there  were  two  words  for  the  two  kinds 
of  fruit  in  the  colloquial  Semitic  dialect  in  use  in 
Palestine  at  that  time,  as  in  the  colloquial  Arabic 
of  to-day.  This  passage  would  thus  mean  that  the 
Saviour  came  hoping  to  find  Dujf'ur,  but  when  He 
came  to  the  tree  found  only  leaves,  for  the  time  of 
Tin  was  not  yet.  It  is  somewhat  remarkable,  too, 
that  while  these  first  ripe  figs  are  in  season  they  are 
a  favourite  article  of  food  in  the  early  morning 
with  the  Fellahin,  who  have  no  meal  corresponding 
to  our  breakfast.  When  itinerating  among  the 
villages  at  that  time  of  year,  I  have  sometimes  had 
occasion  to  ask  persons  who  have  come  to  me  early 
in  the  day  for  medicine,  '  Have  you  eaten  anything 
this  morning  V  '  Yes,  I  have  eaten  two  or  three 
Dujfui\  has  been  a  far  from  uncommon  answer. 

There  are  also  in  some  places  fig-trees  of  which 
the  fruit  is  public  property.  There  seems  to  be 
nothing  to  mark  such  trees,  but  they  are  well 
known  to  the  people  of  the  neighbouring  villages. 


and  are  called  Tin  csmbtl — 'fig-trees  of  the  road.' 
The  barren  fig-tree  on  Olivet  was  probably  one  of 
such  trees.  Persons  will  sometimes  set  apart  one 
of  their  trees  for  such  an  object.  Olive-trees  in 
like  manner  are  occasionally  dedicated  to  churches, 
that  the  oil  from  them  may  be  used  to  keep  the 
lamps  burning  before  the  icons. 

The  figs  are  dried  in  large  quantities  in  the  fig- 
gardens.  An  open  sunny  spot  is  selected,  the 
ground  is  smoothed,  stones  and  clods  of  earth 
being  removed,  and  here  the  figs  as  they  ripen  are 
laid,  being  carefully  turned  from  day  to  day  till 
they  are  quite  dry.  While  this  is  going  on  they 
are  collected  each  evening,  and  put  under  shelter 
at  night,  as  the  dews  which  often  occur  then  would 
spoil  them  if  left  out  of  doors.  When  dry  enough 
the  fruit  is  stored  in  bulk  in  bins,  or  strung  on  thin 
twine  in  strings  of  about  a  hundred.  These  strings 
are  called  Kaladeh  (pi.  Kaltiid).  The  dried  figs  are 
known  by  a  special  name,  Kottain,  and  form  a  very 
important  article  of  food,  especially  of  the  very  poor. 

In  the  maritime  plain,  especially  in  the  neigh- 
bourhood of  Jaffa,  numbers  of  gardens  of  oranges 
and  lemons  are  found,  and  these  fruits  are  being 
exported  to  Europe,  chiefly  to  England,  in  ever- 
increasing  quantities.  The  special  Jaffa  orange  is 
a  large  egg-shaped  fruit  of  pale  colour  and  very 
thick  rind.  These  peculiarities  are  caused  by  the 
fact  that  the  Fellahin  graft  the  orange  on  to  lemon 
stocks,  as  they  find  by  experience  that  this  produces 
a  better  quality  of  fruit  than  that  from  orange-trees 
grown  in  the  ordinary  way.     Both  fruits  require  a 


good  deal  of  moisture,  and  the  trees  are  irrigated 
from  the  wells  already  mentioned,  each  tree  being 
watered  every  second  day. 

Date-palms  are  not  uncommon  all  down  the 
coast,  and,  in  fact,  grow  more  or  less  throughout 
the  country,  but  they  only  bear  fruit  of  any  value  in 
the  extreme  south,  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Gaza. 

Besides  the  fruits  already  mentioned,  pome- 
granates of  several  sorts,  quinces,  apricots,  peaches, 
plums,  almonds,  walnuts,  apples,  pears,  and  other 
kinds  of  fruit,  are  found  in  more  or  less  abundance. 
The  greater  part  is  brought  into  the  towns  for  sale, 
but  it  is  often  spoilt  by  careless  handling,  and  by 
its  being  frequently  gathered  too  soon,  this  last 
defect  being  caused  by  fear  of  its  being  stolen  if 
left  longer  on  the  trees. 

In  the  autumn  the  dews  or  night-mists  are  very 
copious,  and  do  much  to  refresh  the  burnt-up  land. 
Early  in  the  morning  the  valleys,  if  in  the  hill 
country,  will  often  be  found  to  be  full  of  this  mist, 
the  hill-tops  standing  like  islands  out  of  a  sea  of 
fleecy  white  cloud.  As  the  sun  gets  higher  the 
mists  (the  '  morning  cloud '  of  Hos.  xiii.  3)  melt 
away,  leaving  a  cloudless  sky.  Every  leaf  and 
twig  and  blade  of  grass  is  gemmed  with  dewdrops, 
while  if  camping  out  one's  tent  roof  is  as  saturated 
as  though  there  had  been  a  heavy  shower  of  rain. 
This  mist  or  dew  is  often  referred  to  in  the  Old 
Testament  (Ps.  cxxxiii.  3;  Hos.  xiv.  5,  etc.),  and 
is  of  great  benefit  to  the  fruit.  It  fills  out  the 
olives  and  matures  the  grapes,  although  rain 
would  quite  spoil  the  latter. 




In  addition  to  the  occupations  more  immediately- 
connected  with  peasant  life,  there  are  several  minor 
industries  which,  in  whole  or  in  part,  occupy  the 
time  and  energies  of  the  Fellahin.  Foremost 
among  them  I  would  put  that  of  the  carpenter. 
Most  villages  have  their  own  carpenter,  who  makes 
and  mends  the  ploughs  and  other  agricultural 
implements,  does  whatever  wood-work,  such  as 
doors  and  windows  (wherever  there  are  the  latter), 
is  required  in  the  houses,  and  manufactures  the 
rough  boxes  in  which  the  women  keep  their 
clothes.  His  tools  are  of  the  most  primitive  de- 
scription :  a  few  tiny  saws,  with  the  teeth  set  the 
reverse  way  to  those  of  our  saws,  a  small  plane, 
two  or  three  chisels  of  various  sizes,  a  drill  worked 
by  a  bow,  and  a  narrow,  much-curved  adze,  in  the 
use  of  which  he  is  as  skilful  as  a  shipwright.  He 
does  not  use  a  carpenter's  bench,  but  squats  on  the 
ground  to  work,  and,  where  he  has  to  use  both 
hands,  holds  the  thing  he  is  working  at  with  his 

Payment  is  frequently  made  in  kind,  the  peasant 



giving  the  carpenter  so  many  measures  of  wheat 
per  annum,  in  return  for  which  the  other  under- 
takes to  keep  his  ploughs,  etc.,  in  repair.  It  is 
rarely  a  remunerative  employment,  and  to  make 
a  living  the  carpenter  must  either  have  land  of  his 
own  or  must  combine  some  other  occupation  with 
it.  I  knew  one  who  was  also  village  schoolmaster, 
and  used  to  make  and  mend  his  ploughs,  etc.,  in 
the  courtyard  of  the  little  village  mosque,  with 
his  scholars  around  him  learning  their  tasks. 
Those  I  have  known  have  all  been  poor,  some  of 
them  very  poor,  and  in  the  little  town  of  Nazareth 
there  would  probably  have  been  but  scanty  work 
for  the  carpenter,  and  the  Saviour,  in  all  prob- 
ability, must  have  known  at  times  the  pinch  of 
real  want. 

Lime-burning  is  another  minor  industry  which 
occupies  many  of  the  Fellahin,  especially  during 
slack  periods.  The  lime  which  is  used  in  building 
is  all  produced  in  the  country.  As  already  men- 
tioned, the  rock  formation  of  Palestine  is  almost 
exclusively  limestone,  which  is  burnt  into  lime  in 
kilns  called  Latun  or  Klbdrah.  A  circular  hole, 
10  to  15  feet  in  diameter,  is  dug  in  some  con- 
venient spot,  and  lined  with  dry  masonry.  A 
quantity  of  stone,  preferably  of  the  harder  sorts, 
and  of  suitable  sizes,  is  collected,  and  is  then  built 
up  over  the  top  of  the  circular  pit  in  the  form  of 
a  dome,  in  the  following  manner : 

Round  the  edge  of  the  pit  is  placed  a  row  of  large 
stones,  partly  projecting  inwards.  On  them  other 
layers  of  stones  are  placed,  each  successive  layer  pro- 



jecting  rather  more  than  that  beneath  it,  the  process 
being  continued  till  the  central  opening  is  small 
enough  to  be  closed  by  two  or  three  long  pieces  of 
stone.  Smaller  stones  are  placed  on  this  pile  to  a 
considerable  height,  earth  being  heaped  up  all  round 
to  keep  in  the  hot  air.  A  hollow  some  10  feet 
deep  is  thus  left  underneath  the  mass,  and  into  this 
hollow  the  fuel  is  fed  through  a  sloping  opening. 
Another  hole  is  often  made  on  the  side  facing  the 
prevailing  wind,  in  order  to  supply  the  kilns  with 
sufficient  air.  The  fuel  most  commonly  used  is 
the  Netsh,  already  mentioned,  a  low  thorny  shrub 
which  groMrs  abundantly  throughout  Palestine. 
This  is  cut  and  piled  in  small  heaps  to  dry  some 
time  before  the  lime  is  burnt,  a  large  stone  being 
placed  on  each  little  heap  to  keep  it  from  being 
blown  away  by  the  wind.  These  heaps  of  thorns 
cut  for  the  lime -kilns  form  at  times  quite  a 
feature  in  the  landscape,  and  are  no  doubt  referred 
to  in  Isa.  xxxiii.  12. 

The  fire,  once  lit,  is  kept  going  day  and  night, 
and  as  these  lime-kilns  are  often  out  in  the  open 
country,  at  a  considerable  distance  from  the 
villages,  the  men  who  work  them  sleep  out  by 
them,  the  women  bringing  them  food  and  water 
two  or  three  times  a  day.  Each  addition  of  fuel 
causes  a  great  volume  of  dense  black  smoke  to 
rise  from  the  kiln,  and  on  a  calm  day  these 
columns  of  smoke  can  be  seen  from  very  long 
distances.  To  such  kilns,  and  to  these  columns 
of  vapour,  does  the  sacred  historian  liken  the  smoke 
of  the  burning  cities  of  the  plain  (Gen.  xix.  28). 


To  burn  the  stone  thoroughly  requires  from  two 
to  seven  days,  according  to  the  size  of  the  kiln, 
the  nature  of  the  fuel,  and  the  regularity  with 
which  the  fire  is  kept  up.  The  method  is  a 
very  wasteful  one,  as  the  fuel  used  in  each  kiln 
would  be  sufficient  to  burn  a  much  larger  amount 
of  lime  on  a  continuous  system.  When  the  mass 
is  sufficiently  burnt,  the  whole  is  left  for  two  or 
three  days  to  cool,  and  the  lime  is  then  removed 
in  sacks. 

Quarrying  is  largely  carried  on  in  the  hill 
country,  in  the  neighbourhood  of  towns.  The 
rock  found  in  Palestine  is  for  the  most  part  lime- 
stone of  varying  hardness.  In  the  mountains  it 
is  extremely  abundant,  and  it  usually  occurs  on 
or  near  the  surface.  The  building  stone  is  almost 
entirely  got  by  blasting.  A  hole  is  drilled  in  the 
rock  by  means  of  a  long  iron  rod  about  half  an 
inch  in  diameter,  with  a  chisel-shaped  end.  The 
quarryman  sits  down  on  the  rock  he  wishes  to 
bore,  and,  holding  the  rod  with  both  hands,  brings 
it  rapidly  down  with  great  force  over  and  over 
again  on  the  same  spot,  giving  it  a  half-turn  at 
each  stroke.  A  hole  more  or  less  vertical  is  thus 
formed,  a  little  larger  in  diameter  than  the  rod. 
When  it  is  an  inch  or  two  in  depth,  a  little  water 
is  poured  in,  more  being  added  from  time  to  time. 
This  serves  both  to  keep  the  boring  tool  cool 
and  to  form  a  thick  mud  of  the  coarse  powder 
chipped  off.  This  mud  is  removed  from  time  to 
time  by  means  of  a  long  thin  rod,  having  at  its 
lower  end  a  small  spoon-like  projection  at  right 


angles  to  its  length,  this  mud  being  afterwards 
used  in  the  tamping.  When  the  bore  has  reached 
the  required  depth  it  is  cleared  out,  and  a  few 
strokes  of  the  iron  bar  having  dried  it,  coarse 
gunpowder  is  poured  in  to  a  depth  of  several 
inches,  and  rammed  tight.  A  thin  pointed  rod 
of  iron,  with  a  strong  cross-handle,  is  pushed  in 
to  the  centre  of  the  charge,  and  the  tamping, 
which  is  made  of  small  pieces  of  stone  mixed 
with  the  mud  already  mentioned,  is  rammed 
tightly  in  round  the  rod,  which  is  turned  occa- 
sionally as  the  hole  fills  up,  to  prevent  its  becoming 
jammed.  When  the  tamping  reaches  the  top  of 
the  hole,  this  rod  is  cautiously  withdrawn,  and 
fine-grained  powder  is  poured  down  it  till  it  is 
full.  When  all  is  ready,  the  quarrymen  retire  to 
a  distance,  leaving  only  the  one  who  has  to  fire 
the  charge.  This  he  usually  does  by  fastening  a 
burning  match  to  the  end  of  a  long  stick,  with 
which  he  ignites  the  loose  powder  about  the  top 
of  the  bore.  As  soon  as  he  sees  that  this  has 
caught,  he  makes  off  as  fast  as  his  legs  will  carry 
him  to  a  place  of  safety.  The  narrow  thread  of 
powder  burns  but  slowly,  and  if  properly  done 
there  is  ample  time  for  the  firer  to  take  shelter 
before  the  charge  explodes.  If  near  a  highroad 
or  a  place  where  people  are  about,  before  the  shot 
is  fired  they  call  out  loudly :  *  Gunpowder !  gun- 
powder !     Beware  !  beware  !' 

The  masses  of  stone  thus  detached  are  broken 
up  into  pieces  suitable  for  the  builder  by  means 
of  large  hammers,  aided  where  necessary  by  iron 


wedges.  The  stone  has  to  be  further  dressed 
before  it  can  be  used  by  the  mason,  but  this  is 
usually  done  in  the  building-yard.  Sometimes 
the  rock  is  only  cracked  by  the  shot,  and  then 
huge  crowbars,  of  enormous  weight,  are  used  to 
detach  the  loosened  masses. 

A  good  deal  of  paving  stone  exists  in  some 
parts,  occurring  in  layers  only  a  few  inches  thick  ; 
but  this  is  not  quarried  by  blasting,  and  the  softer 
kinds,  such  as  the  Nareh  used  for  the  domed  roofs, 
do  not  require  the  use  of  explosives. 

The  method  above  described  is  a  very  wasteful 
one.  Probably  not  more  than  half  the  material 
so  obtained  can  be  used.  This  is  in  great  contrast 
to  the  methods  apparently  employed  in  the  ancient 
quarries,  of  which  numerous  traces  remain.  There 
the  stones  seem  to  have  been  cut  out  one  by  one, 
each  being  ready  squared  for  the  builder  as  it  was 
detached  from  the  bed-rock.  This  seems  to  be 
referred  to  in  Isa.  li.  1.  Indeed,  the  marks  in  the 
old  quarries  are  still  so  sharp  that  it  seems  as 
though  it  would  be  possible,  if  one  had  the  stones 
there,  to  find  the  exact  spot  from  which  each  had 
been  cut. 

The  gunpowder  used  in  quarrying  is  made  in 
the  country.  Certain  families  are  considered  to 
be  particularly  skilful  in  its  manufacture,  and  have, 
no  doubt,  secret  processes  of  their  own.  All  the 
ingredients  are  found  in  the  land.  Sulphur  exists 
in  considerable  quantities  in  the  marl  formation  of 
the  Jordan  Valley,  and  is  sold  in  the  market  under 
the  name  of  '  camel  sulphur '  (to  distinguish  it  from 


the  'pillar  sulphur,'  as  it  is  called,  which  is  im- 
ported from  Europe),  the  name  being  derived 
from  the  fact  that  it  is  used  for  a  remedy  for  the 
skin  diseases  to  which  those  animals  seem  to  be 
peculiarly  liable.  Saltpetre  is  frequently  found  as 
an  efflorescence  on  the  walls  of  houses,  and  the 
keenest  native  sportsman  I  have  ever  known,  and 
who  always  makes  his  own  gunpowder,  told  me 
that  it  was  from  this  source  that  he  obtained  his 
supply  of  nitre.  It  is,  however,  also  made  arti- 
ficially by  getting  earth  from  caves  and  other 
places  where  goats  are  housed,  and  placing  it  in 
a  porous  vessel  out  of  doors,  but  in  a  spot  sheltered 
from  the  rain.  Water  is  poured  on  this  earth  from 
time  to  time  in  small  quantities.  This  percolates 
through  into  a  vessel  placed  below,  and  as  it 
evaporates  leaves  behind  a  mass  of  crude  saltpetre, 
which  is  purified  by  recrystallization.  Some  of 
the  women  who  make  this  nitre  are  specially 
clever  in  its  production,  and  it  is  remarkable  that 
the  Fellahin,  with  absolutely  no  knowledge  of 
chemistry,  should  have  discovered  this  process, 
which  is  practically  the  same  as  one  which  was 
(and  probably  is  still)  largely  used  in  France  for 
the  production  of  this  salt.  The  materials  used 
for  the  manufacture  of  this  native  gunpowder  are 
probably  not  very  pure,  which  accounts  most  likely 
for  the  odour  of  the  burnt  powder,  which  is  villainous 
in  the  extreme. 

Charcoal  is  largely  used  in  cooking,  and  also 
for  warmth  in  winter,  throughout  the  country, 
and  in  times  of  bad  harvests  or  scarcity  of  olive 


crops  many  Fellahin  will  take  to  its  production  to 
eke  out  a  living.  It  is  made  from  the  evergreen 
oak,  the  branches  being  the  parts  which  are  mostly 
employed  for  the  purpose.  Other  trees  are  some- 
times used,  as  the  terebinth,  deciduous  oak,  and 
even  soft  woods  such  as  the  arbutus,  in  places 
where  the  hard  woods  are  becoming  exhausted. 

A  bough  or  an  entire  sapling  is  trimmed  of  its 
twigs  on  the  spot,  cut  into  convenient  lengths, 
and  carried  to  the  charcoal  oven,  which  is  merely 
a  pit  in  the  ground  or  a  cave ;  I  have  even  known 
an  ancient  rock-cut  tomb  utilized  for  the  purpose. 
In  the  case  of  a  cave,  the  mouth  is  walled  up  with 
stones  and  earth,  leaving  only  a  small  aperture. 
The  pit  or  cave  is  filled  with  the  dry  wood,  and 
fire  is  applied.  Clouds  of  bluish-white  smoke  issue 
from  the  narrow  opening  at  the  mouth,  and  as  the 
charge  shrinks  in  volume  more  wood  is  fed  in. 
When  the  man  in  charge  considers  the  whole  is 
sufficiently  burned,  the  opening  is  closed  with 
stones  and  earth,  so  as  to  exclude  all  air,  and 
not  re-opened  till  quite  cool.  The  charcoal  is  then 
carefully  removed,  and  packed  in  goat's-hair  bags 
for  conveyance  to  the  towns  and  villages  for  sale. 

In  valleys  where  there  are  powerful  perennial 
springs  or  permanent  streams  there  will  usually 
be  found  several  water-mills  for  grinding  corn. 
A  winding  channel,  carried  along  the  side  of  the 
valley,  conducts  a  stream  of  water  to  a  point  at 
which  it  is  high  enough  above  the  floor  to  give 
the  needful  pressure.  Here  the  mill  is  built.  It 
consists  of  a  single  room,  in   the  floor   of  which 


the  lower  millstone  is  firmly  embedded.  Under 
the  room  is  a  vaulted  space  in  which  works  the 
wheel  or  turbine  which  drives  the  mill.  One  of 
the  walls  of  this  room  is  carried  up  to  about  twice 
the  height  of  the  latter,  and  is  either  connected 
with  the  hillside  by  one  or  more  arches,  or  is  itself 
built  out  to  the  end  of  the  watercourse.  A 
channel  along  the  top  of  this  carries  the  water  to 
a  vertical  shaft  or  chimney -like  opening  in  the 
thickness  of  the  wall  at  its  outer  end.  This  pipe 
or  shaft  leads  down  into  the  turbine  chamber,  and 
is  called  the  '  cistern '  (Btr),  probably  because  it  is 
cemented,  as  cisterns  are  in  order  to  retain  the 
water ;  it  is  closed  at  the  bottom,  but  has  a  lateral 
opening  on  a  level  with  the  arms  of  the  turbine. 
The  column  of  water  is  sometimes  20  to  25 
feet  in  height,  so  that  it  issues  with  tremendous 
force  in  a  horizontal  jet,  striking  the  radii  of  the 
turbine,  and  thus  rotating  them. 

The  turbine  consists  of  a  shaft  (Ud)  with  a 
number  of  radial  arms  at  the  lower  end,  like  the 
spokes  of  a  wheel  without  a  rim,  and  very  wide, 
relatively,  to  their  thickness.  The  shaft  passes 
up  through  the  floor  of  the  mill,  and  also  through 
the  lower  millstone,  and  into  the  upper  one,  which 
is  firmly  keyed  on  to  it  by  means  of  a  cross-piece 
of  iron  sunk  into  the  stone.  About  a  foot  and  a 
half  above  the  stones,  and  fifteen  inches  apart,  are 
two  bars  of  wood  securely  fastened  to  the  walls  of 
the  mill.  They  are  called  the  '  ladder,'  and  on  them 
rests  the  hopper  (Ualu),  in  shape  an  inverted  trun- 
cated pyramid.     Below  the  mouth  of  the  hopper 

MILLS  251 

is  suspended  a  flat  shovel-shaped  piece  of  wood 
called  the  '  bowl.'  It  has  a  raised  edge  all  round 
it  except  at  its  apex,  and  is  so  hung  from  the 
ladder  that  it  slopes  somewhat  towards  the  narrow 
end,  in  order  to  facilitate  the  flow  of  the  grain  to 
the  stones.  A  string  passes  through  it  near  its 
point,  and  is  for  the  purpose  of  regulating  the 
amount  of  grain  which  passes  to  the  millstones ; 
when  it  is  slackened  more  runs  from  the  hopper, 
and  when  it  is  tightened  up  the  mouth  of  the 
hopper  is  closed  and  the  flow  of  corn  ceases. 
A  short  stick  is  tied  across  the  'bowl,'  and  on 
this  rests  another,  with  its  lower  end  on  the 
revolving  stone,  its  use  being  to  give  a  slight 
shaking  motion  to  the  '  bowl,'  without  which  the 
grain  would  not  flow  from  the  hopper.  Close  by 
the  stones  is  the  handle  by  which  the  miller  opens 
or  closes  the  water-passage,  thus  starting  or  stop- 
ping the  mill.  The  stones  for  these  mills,  like 
those  for  the  hand-mills,  are  made  of  the  black 
basalt  of  the  Leja. 

A  considerable  amount  of  pottery  is  made  in 
various  parts  of  the  country.  In  some  villages 
the  women  make  the  huge  jars  which  contain 
the  supply  of  water  for  the  household.  These 
jars  are  not  formed  on  the  wheel,  but  are  built 
up  slowly,  piece  by  piece,  by  hand,  and  when 
finished  are  dried  very  thoroughly,  and  then  burnt 
by  heaping  up  dried  cow-dung  around  them  and 
setting  fire  to  it.  The  fuel  is  allowed  to  burn 
itself  out,  when  the  jar  will  be  found  to  be  suffi- 
ciently baked.      A   great   deal  of  earthenware  is 


also  made,  which  is  thrown  on  the  wheel  with 
great  skill.  This  industry  is  chiefly  carried  on 
in  Southern  Palestine,  about  Gaza,  where  there 
are  abundant  deposits  of  clay.  The  raw  material 
is  dug  out  by  the  Fellahin,  and  accidents  from 
the  falling  in  of  the  earth  on  them,  in  the  pits, 
are  not  uncommon. 

When  the  clay  is  brought  in,  it  is  broken  up  into 
small  pieces,  mixed  with  water,  and  worked  into 
a  proper  consistency  by  treading  (Isa.  xli.  25) 
It  is  next  '  thrown '  on  the  wheel,  as  is  done 
in  England,  only  that  the  wheel  is  turned  by  the 
potter  himself;  he  does  this  by  means  of  a  disc 
of  wood  fastened  to  the  lower  end  of  the  shaft 
on  which  the  upper  wheel  is  secured,  and  of 
similar  dimensions  to  it  (hence  the  Hebrew  term 
'  the  two  wheels,'  Jer.  xviii.  3).  The  various 
articles  when  finished  are  left  to  dry,  and  then 
burnt  in  kilns,  the  fuel  used  being  the  coarse 
part  of  the  straw  left  after  the  Tibn  is  separated, 
and  which  consists  of  the  knots  and  lowest  parts 
of  the  stalks  next  the  ground.  When  burnt,  the 
jars  and  other  articles  are  put  in  network  sacks 
made  of  a  coarse  tough  grass,  and  sent  on  camels 
and  donkeys  to  all  parts  of  Palestine. 

On  the  coast  of  the  Mediterranean,  and  also  on 
the  Sea  of  Galilee,  there  are  a  good  many  men 
who  gain  their  living  by  fishing.  In  the  former 
a  casting-net,  the  antyifi\r\GTpov  of  the  New  Testa- 
ment, is  chiefly  used.  This  is  a  circular  net  of 
very  fine  twine,  and  small  in  the  mesh ;  it  is 
attached  in  the  centre  to  a  long  cord,  and  round 

1    . 

*  -\ 

FISHING  2.3tt 

the  circumference  is  weighted  with  lumps  of  lead. 
While  riding  along  the  coast  one  may  often  see 
a  fisherman  with  clothes  tucked  tightly  up  round 
his  waist,  and  one  of  these  nets  over  his  left  arm, 
wading  thigh-deep  in  the  broken  water  near  the 
beach,  and  intently  watching  the  shoals  of  fish  as 
they  swim  about.  Stooping  and  crouching  down 
to  render  himself  as  inconspicuous  as  possible,  he 
now  advances,  now  retreats,  till  a  shoal  is  in  a 
favourable  position,  when,  with  a  dexterous  twist 
and  sudden  fling,  he  sends  the  net  spreading  out 
to  its  widest  extent  over  its  prey.  Often  the  cast 
is  in  vain,  or  but  a  single  fish  is  brought  to  shore, 
but  at  other  times  a  considerable  haul  rewards  his 

Both  on  the  Mediterranean  and  on  the  Sea  of 
Galilee  seine  nets  (trayr?^)  are  used  with  boats,  as 
was  done  in  our  Lord's  time ;  and  on  the  latter  sea 
now,  as  then,  the  fishing  is  chiefly  by  night.  When 
being  rowed  on  one  occasion  across  the  Sea  of 
Galilee,  the  boatmen  apologized  for  rowing  slowly  : 
'  they  had  been  fishing  all  night,  and  were  tired,' 
they  said.  Many  of  the  small  fish  caught  in  the 
Sea  of  Galilee  are  dried  and  sent  about  the  country, 
being  eaten  as  a  relish  (tydpiov,  St.  John  vi.  9)  with 

There  are  a  few  jewellers  among  the  Fellahin 
who  either  live  in  a  village  or  wander  about  from 
place  to  place,  making  the  rings,  bracelets,  chains, 
and  other  ornaments,  of  which  the  peasant  women 
are  so  fond.  Silver  is  the  metal  chiefly  used,  and 
that  largely  mixed  witli  alloy ;  gold  is  rarely  seen. 


The  jeweller's  apparatus  is  very  primitive.  It  con- 
sists of  a  rough  pair  of  scales  for  weighing  the 
metal ;  a  plain  portable  hearth  of  clay,  shaped  like 
a  large  centre-dish  for  fruit,  and  about  15  inches 
high  ;  a  rude  oil-lamp,  with  a  large  wick  for  blow- 
pipe work,  a  curved  metal  blowpipe,  and  one  or 
two  forceps.  With  these  simple  tools  they  some- 
times turn  out  very  neat  work.  They  seem  to 
work  entirely  by  rule  of  thumb,  following  tradi- 
tional patterns  and  devices. 

Among  minor  industries  may  be  mentioned  the 
making  of  mats.  Chairs  are  unknown,  except 
where  European  ideas  and  customs  have  begun  to 
take  root ;  but  even  the  poorest  like  to  have  some- 
thing to  put  on  the  floor  on  which  to  sit,  and  for 
this  purpose  straw,  or  rather  rush,  mats  are  common 
everywhere.  There  are  two  kinds  of  these  mats : 
the  larger  and  cheaper  kind  are  made  in  the 
maritime  plain,  of  the  dried  stems  of  a  species  of 
papyrus.  This  plant  grows  in  considerable  quanti- 
ties in  the  swamps  from  which  the  short  rivers 
flowing  into  the  Mediterranean  take  their  rise.  I 
do  not  know  whether  or  not  it  is  identical  with  the 
African  papyrus,  but  it  is  very  like  it,  except  that 
it  is  smaller.  The  rushes  are  tied  side  by  side  till 
the  mat  has  reached  the  desired  length,  the  manu- 
facture being  simple  in  the  extreme.  They  are 
usually  about  7  feet  wide,  by  8  or  9  feet  in  length. 
A  smaller  but  superior  kind  of  mat  is  made  in 
some  of  the  hill  villages  about  Jerusalem  from  the 
stems  of  a  species  of  grass. 

The  Fellahin  are  very  skilful  in  basket-making. 


They  use  twigs  of  various  shrubs,  such  as  willow, 
mulberry,  etc.,  and  the  stems  of  a  species  of  smilax 
and  other  creepers.  Of  these,  baskets  of  various 
shapes  and  sizes  are  made.  One  sort,  with  a  handle, 
is  called  Kcrtidleh,  and  is  much  used  for  carrying 
small  quantities  of  figs,  grapes,  olives,  etc.  A 
strong,  shallow,  handleless  basket,  about  18  inches 
in  diameter,  and  4  or  5  inches  in  depth,  is  employed 
by  the  women  in  carrying  grain,  vegetables,  fowls, 
etc.,  to  market.  The  latter  kind  is  often  covered 
with  skin  to  render  it  stronger  stilL  Another  sort, 
known  as  Kuffeh,  is  made  from  the  flexible  stems 
of  a  short  grass,  and  is  largely  employed  in  carrying 
stones  for  mending  the  roads,  earth  for  making 
mortar,  in  gardening  operations,  and  for  a  variety  of 
purposes  where  an  Englishman  would  use  a  wheel- 
barrow, the  loads  in  such  cases  being  carried  on 
the  head  by  the  women,  and  on  the  hip  by  the  men. 
A  strong  double  basket,  or  pannier,  for  donkeys  is 
made  from  the  same  material. 

Yet  another  kind  is  made  from  wheat  straw.  A 
coil  of  this  material,  about  the  thickness  of  one's 
little  finger,  is  produced  by  taking  a  number  of 
straws  of  different  lengths,  and  binding  them 
tightly  by  a  straw,  flattened  and  rendered  flexible  by 
squeezing  it  with  the  finger  and  thumb-nail,  spirally 
round  the  coil.  This  is  wound  round  and  round 
on  itself,  each  coil  being  sewn  to  the  adjacent  ones, 
till  a  flat,  circular  sort  of  tray  of  the  desired 
dimensions  is  produced.  The  coils  are  then  con- 
tinued at  right  angles  to  the  bottom  till  the  sides 
are  sufficiently  high.     These  baskets  are  sometimes. 


ornamented  by  dyeing  the  outer  wrapping  straws, 
and  working  them  in  to  form  patterns. 

Large  round  trays  are  made  in  the  same  way  by 
the  women.  Some  are  worked  in  elaborate  patterns, 
while  others  will  have  a  little  round  looking-glass 
embedded  in  the  centre.  The  colours  are  often 
tastefully  blended.  They  are  used  for  various 
domestic  purposes,  often  serving  as  dishes  to  hold 
bread,  grapes,  figs,  etc. 

There  is  a  widespread  belief  that  there  are 
treasures  buried  in  the  earth  all  over  the  country, 
and  some  peasants  make  it  their  regular  occupation 
to  dig  for  old  graves  in  the  hope  of  finding  these 
treasures.  In  this  way  large  quantities  of  antique 
glass,  ancient  lamps,  and  other  articles,  are  found, 
and  command  a  ready  sale  at  the  hands  of  the 
dealers  in  such  things  in  the  towns.  Immense 
numbers  of  graves  have  thus  been  rifled,  especially 
within  the  last  few  years. 

Shoemaking  is  another  industry  of  the  larger 
villages.  The  shoes  made  by  these  village  cobblers 
are  only  the  rougher,  heavier  kinds,  the  soles  being 
of  camel  or  buffalo  hide,  and  the  uppers  of  sheep- 
skin, dyed  red.  Sometimes  these  shoemakers  go 
about  from  village  to  village,  chiefly  repairing  the 
shoes  of  the  people.  They  remain  for  a  few  days 
in  the  place,  as  long  as  there  is  anything  for  them 
to  do,  and  then  move  on. 

Some  of  the  men  are  clever  at  hunting  game. 
Partridges,  gazelle,  wild-boar,  and  ibex,  are  the  crea- 
tures they  shoot.  The  former  (partridges)  abound 
throughout  the  land,  there  being  several  species,  in- 


eluding  the  large,  handsome  Greek  partridge,  the 
Dead  Sea  species,  which  is  peculiar  to  Palestine, 
and  the  francolin.  For  these  birds  they  often  use  a 
lure,  which  consists  of  a  piece  of  calico  with  various 
devices  painted  on  it,  and  fastened  to  two  sticks  in 
the  form  of  a  St.  Andrew's  cross.  There  are  usually 
two  holes  in  the  upper  part  for  the  hunter  to  look 
through,  and  one  in  the  centre  for  his  gun.  They 
use  this  in  rather  an  unsportsmanlike  manner, 
creeping  up  towards  a  covey  holding  this  screen 
before  them,  and  when  they  get  near  they  stop, 
and  the  partridges,  which  are  bold  and  inquisitive,* 
when  they  see  this  strange-looking  object,  instead 
of  taking  flight,  gradually  come  nearer  and  nearer 
till  within  range,  when  the  man  fires.  The  wild 
boar  is  still  fairly  common  in  the  Jordan  Valley  and 
the  better- wooded  districts,  and  the  Fellahin  some- 
times organize  regular  hunts  for  the  purpose  of 
killing  them,  as  not  only  the  Christians,  but  also 
some  of  the  Moslems,  eat  the  flesh. 

The  men  spin  a  good  deal  of  coarse  thread  from 
the  wool  of  their  sheep  and  the  hair  of  the  goats. 
A  mass  of  the  raw  material  is  wrapped  loosely 
round  the  left  hand,  and  the  spindle  with  which  it 

*  The  Fellahin  say  that  the  fox  is  fully  aware  of  this  trait 
in  the  character  of  the  partridge,  and  takes  advantage  of  it 
in  the  following  manner:  He  lies  down  on  a  rock  in  the 
open  with  limbs  stretched  out,  mouth  half  open,  and  saliva 
running  from  it  as  though  he  were  dead.  When  the  curious 
birds  catch  sight  of  their  enemy  in  this  condition,  they  come 
slowly  up  to  see  if  he  be  really  dead,  and,  when  near  enough, 
with  a  sudden  spring  he  seizes  his  victim. 



is  spun  is  attached  to  it  by  a  piece  of  the  thread. 
The  spindle  is  simply  a  stick  about  9  inches  long, 
with  two  cross-pieces  about  1|  inches  from  the 
lower  end.  It  is  weighted  with  a  stone  or  piece  of 
potsherd,  and  is  used  in  the  following  manner :  A 
long  thread  is  drawn  out  with  the  fingers  of  both 
hands,  and  roughly  and  loosely  twisted.  When 
about  3  feet  long  it  is  held  tightly  between  the 
thumb  and  forefinger  of  the  left  hand,  at  the  further 
end  from  the  spindle,  and  a  vigorous  spin  is  given  to 
the  latter  by  a  dexterous  turn  of  the  right  hand,  the 
thread  being  thus  twisted  as  tightly  as  desired  by  its 
rapid  revolution.  The  two  or  three  feet  of  finished 
thread  are  then  wrapped  round  the  lower  end  of 
the  spindle,  looped  over  the  upper  end  of  the  shank 
to  keep  it  in  place,  and  the  process  repeated.  It 
is  astonishing  to  see  what  an  amount  of  coarse 
thread  a  man  can  thus  spin  in  a  day,  and  of  what 
even  thickness  he  manages  to  keep  it.  This  thread 
is  used  for  various  purposes,  such  as  making  ropes, 
haircloth  for  tents,  nose-bags  for  horses,  and  for 
weaving  the  cloaks  so  much  worn  in  winter.  The 
men  work  very  industriously  at  this  during  the 
wet  days  of  winter  and  spring  when  no  field  labour 
is  possible.  The  women  do  a  small  amount  of  it, 
but,  naturally,  have  not  the  same  time  as  the  men. 
Haircloth  for  the  tents — or  '  houses  of  hair,'  as 
they  are  called  in  Arabic — is  woven  in  a  good  many 
places  from  the  coarse  thread  just  described.  This 
haircloth  is  made  of  the  black  goat's  hair,  no  other 
colour,  apparently,  being  permissible,  the  only 
exception  being  that   sometimes  there  is  a  longi- 



'/    ■  '■  ee  per,     .  B. 


tudinal  stripe  of  dark  gray.  This  work  is  now,  I 
believe,  invariably  done  by  women  ;  but  the  fact 
of  this  having  been  St.  Paul's  trade  (Acts  xviii.  1-3) 
shows  that  this  was  not  the  case  in  Apostolic  times. 
The  process  is  simple  and  primitive  to  the  last 
degree.  The  long  threads  to  form  the  warp  are 
stretched  out  in  some  convenient  and  fairly  level 
spot  in  the  village.  That  which  is  to  form  the 
woof,  instead  of  being  placed  in  a  shuttle,  is  wound 
lengthways  on  a  flat  piece  of  wood  about  30  inches 
long  and  3  inches  wide,  somewhat  resembling  a 
gigantic  netting-needle.  With  this  in  her  hand, 
the  weaver  laboriously  threads  the  woof  through 
the  warp,  and  then  with  an  iron  hook  (Sfa)  deftly 
tightens  up  the  thread  against  the  part  already 
woven.  The  threads  of  the  warp  are  passed  through 
a  series  of  loops  attached  to  a  piece  of  wood,  and 
suspended  so  that  every  other  thread  is  alternately 
raised  and  lowered,  much  as  in  a  European  loom, 
though  the  mechanism  is  of  the  rudest  possible 
description,  having  to  be  turned  by  hand  each  time 
the  shuttle  is  passed  through  the  warp.  It  goes 
without  saying  that  the  process  is  very  tedious,  but, 
owing  to  the  dexterity  which  the  women  acquire 
not  so  much  so  as  might  be  supposed.  A  strong, 
rough  kind  of  carpet  is  woven  in  the  same  manner 
in  some  districts,  as  well  as  sacks,  bags,  and  such- 
like articles. 

At  one  time  a  great  deal  of  weaving  was  done 
by  the  Fellahin,  and  though  goods  of  European 
manufacture  have  to  some  extent  crippled  this 
industry,   yet   there   are   still   many  looms  to   be 



found  in  various  parts.  Simple  though  they  are, 
the  work  they  turn  out  is  neat  and  durable.  The 
working  parts  of  the  loom  are  on  a  level  with 
the  floor,  and  a  hole  is  dug  to  accommodate  the 
treadles  which  raise  and  lower  the  alternate  threads 
of  the  warp,  the  weaver  sitting  on  the  edge  of  this 
hole  and  working  the  treadles  with  his  feet.  The 
thread  of  the  woof  is  wound  on  little  bobbins, 
made  of  pieces  of  hollow  reed,  inserted  in  the 
shuttle,  which  is  skilfully  and  quickly  shot  through 
by  hand.  The  thread  is  wound  on  the  bobbins  by 
a  little  piece  of  apparatus  consisting  of  a  rude 
wheel  with  a  cord  passing  over  it  to  a  reel  on  a 
spindle,  on  which  the  little  pieces  of  reed  are  fixed. 

One  of  the  principal  articles  produced  by  these 
native  looms  is  the  heavy  cloak  worn  by  the 
peasants  in  winter.  The  warp  of  these  cloaks  is 
white  cotton,  which  is  imported  from  Egypt  in  the 
form  of  yarn,  but  the  woof  is  of  wool.  In  weaving, 
the  workman,  after  shooting  the  shuttle  through 
the  threads,  catches  the  woof-thread  with  his  thumb 
about  the  middle,  and  draws  it  up  in  a  semicircle 
before  pressing  it  home.  This  seems  to  give  greater 
density  and  closeness  to  the  material.  These 
Abas,  or  cloaks,  are  woven  in  broad  stripes  of 
black  and  white,  are  very  strong  and  durable,  and 
fairly  waterproof. 

Mention  may  be  made,  too,  of  the  mother-of- 
pearl  work  for  which  Bethlehem  is  famous,  though 
this  cannot  be  called  an  indigenous  industry,  having 
been  introduced  from  Egypt  two  or  three  centuries 
ago.     The  shells  are  brought  from  the  Red  Sea. 


To/act  page  260. 


The  work  is  all  done  by  hand,  and  some  of  the 
specimens  are  very  beautiful.  There  is  a  growing 
demand  for  olive-wood  articles,  and  in  a  few  cases 
some  of  the  Fellahin  have  begun  making  various 
objects  in  the  villages,  the  raw  material  being 
cheaper  there  than  in  towns.  They  sell  them  in 
the  shops  in  Jerusalem  and  elsewhere. 



The  roads  in  Palestine  are  for  the  most  part  rough 

tracks,  or  else  mere  paths  across  the  country.     In 

the  hills  they  are  very  stony,  and   in  the  plains 

frequently  impassable  in  the  winter  owing  to  the 

deep  mud.     During  the  Roman  occupation  of  the 

country  fine  paved  roads  were  made  in  all  directions, 

of  which  extensive  remains  still  exist  both  east  and 

west  of  the  Jordan,  with  milestones,  the  inscriptions 

on  them  being  often  still  decipherable,  recording 

how,  under  such  a  Caesar   or  in  such-and-such  a 

consulship,  the  road  was  made  or  repaired.     These 

Roman    highways,    however,    from    having    been 

neglected  for  centuries,  are  now  useless  for  wheeled 

traffic.      The   large   blocks   of   stone   which    once 

formed  a  smooth,  level  surface  for  scores  of  miles 

are  now  tilted  at  every  possible  angle,  the  earth 

between   has    been   washed   away,   and   in  places 

rough   masses   of  rock   protrude   from   below,   or 

the   surface   is    strewn   with    large   loose   pebbles, 

so  that  the  line  of  the  track  resembles  the  bed  of 

a   mountain   torrent    more   nearly   than   anything 




When,  however,  a  Christian  Patriarch  or  Govern- 
ment official  of  high  rank  is  about  to  visit  a  district, 
or  even  merely  to  pass  through  it,  it  is  customary 
to  send  word  in  advance  to  the  various  villages 
on  the  route,  that  the  road  may  be  put  in  order. 
The  stones  are  cleared  out ;  the  vineyard  walls, 
which  are  built  of  rough  blocks  without  mortar, 
and  are  consequently  frequently  broken  down  by 
men  or  animals  getting  over  them,  are  repaired ; 
ruts  are  filled  up,  and  the  highway  made  as  smooth 
as  circumstances  will  permit.  I  have  on  several 
occasions  been  agreeably  surprised,  when  travelling 
about  the  country,  on  coming  to  some  particularly 
bad  piece  of  road,  to  find  the  stones  gone,  the  walls 
repaired,  and  the  path  in  good  order. 

As  one  travels  about  the  country  one  hears  a 
great  variety  of  salutations.  Indeed,  these  saluta- 
tions are  so  numerous  and  varied  that  they  form 
quite  a  study,  there  being  different  ones  in  different 
parts  of  the  country,  and  special  ones  on  special 
occasions  or  for  the  various  events  of  life.  When 
two  Moslems  meet  each  other,  they  usually  greet 
each  other  with  the  words  '  Salam  alckum  '  (Peace 
be  upon  you) ;  to  which  the  proper  reply  is,  '  Wa 
alekum  es  salam  '  (And  on  you  be  peace),  the 
pronoun  being  usually  in  the  plural  instead  of  the 
singular,  even  where  only  one  person  is  addressed, 
this  being  considered  more  polite  than  the  use  of 
the  singular,  the  same  custom  obtaining  in  writing 
letters.  This  salutation  is  not  used  by  Christians 
to  one  another,  nor  is  it  usual  for  Christians  to  use 
it  to  Moslems,  nor  Moslems  to  Christians — indeed. 


the  more  fanatical  Moslems  would  highly  resent  its 
use  by  or  to  Christians.  In  some  districts,  how- 
ever, where  there  is  little  bigotry  on  the  part  of  the 
Mohammedans,  or  where  they  and  the  Christian 
villagers  are  on  specially  friendly  terms,  I  have 
frequently  heard  it  exchanged  between  Moslems 
and  Nazarenes,  as  they  call  us.  This  used  to  be 
the  custom  about  Kerak,  in  Moab ;  but  when  a 
few  years  ago  the  Turks  took  possession  of  the 
place,  which  till  then  had  been  only  nominally 
under  their  rule,  the  officials  tried  to  stop  it,  and  a 
public  order  was  issued  forbidding  the  practice, 
on  the  ground  that  'there  was  no  peace  between 
Moslems  and  Christians.' 

When  Christians  meet,  a  common  salutation  is, 
'Allah  m'akum'  (God  be  with  you),  to  which  those 
thus  addressed  reply,  '  If r  Allah  yahfathak'  (And 
may  God  preserve  thee).  In  the  morning,  whether 
in  the  house  or  on  the  road,  the  usual  greeting  is, 
'  Subahkum  bilkher '  (May  your  morning  be  good,  or 
prosperous),  the  response  to  which  is  the  same. 
In  many  cases  they  reply  to  a  salutation  by  one 
similar,  but  better,  rather ;  thus,  a  very  common 
one  during  the  day  is,  ■  Naharak  sa'id '  (May  thy  day 
be  fortunate),  the  answer  to  which  is,  '  Naharak 
mbdrak3  (May  thy  day  be  blessed),  the  latter  being 
stronger  than  the  former.  These  two  salutations 
can  be  used  at  any  time  during  the  day,  but  in 
the  afternoon,  especially  after  about  three  o'clock, 
it  is  more  usual  to  say, '  Masikum  bilkher '  (May  your 
evening  be  prosperous)  ;  but  in  the  Lebanon  there 
is   a   curious   custom   of    saying,    ■  Lelatak  saHd ' 


(May  thy  night  be  fortunate)  any  time  from  noon 

When  meeting  a  stranger  on  the  way,  or  when 
one  arrives  at  a  village  or  house,  a  common  saluta- 
tion is,'  Marhabali  (A  welcome),  to  which  the  person 
so  addressed  replies, '  Marhabaten '  (Two  welcomes). 
Should  the  one  who  gives  the  first  welcome  be 
a  person  much  respected,  or  well  known  to  the 
other,  the  reply  will  often  be,  '  Mit  marhabah '  (A 
hundred  welcomes).  A  very  characteristic  greet- 
ing to  a  guest  is,  'Ahlan  wa  sahlan  ;  rendered  quite 
literally,  this  means,  'People  and  a  plain' — i.e.,  'You 
are  among  your  own  people,  and  all  will  be  made 
easy  for  you,'  being  a  wish  that  you  may  feel 
quite  at  home.  This  last  word  occurs  in  another 
greeting :  two  friends  meet  on  a  journey,  and  on 
parting  one  will  say  to  the  other,  especially  if  the 
latter  have  a  long  day's  march  or  a  difficult  road 
before  him,  'Allah  yusahhil  oleic'  (May  God  make 
it  smooth,  or  level,  for  you),  a  peculiarly  appro- 
priate farewell  in  a  land  like  Palestine,  where  so 
much  of  it  is  rough  and  hilly.  The  phrase  is  also 
used  metaphorically  of  any  difficult  undertaking. 

While  on  the  subject  of  travelling,  a  curious 
phrase  must  be  mentioned  which  people  meeting 
on  the  way  use  when  they  wish  to  ascertain  where 
one  is  going,  viz.,  '  Wen  ala  bob  Allah  V  or  more 
simply,  'Ala  bab  Allah  V  (Where — to  the  gate  of 
God  ?).  The  idea  of  the  phrase  is  said  to  be  that 
the  person  addressed  is  thereby  implied  to  be 
bound  on  some  good  errand,  and  therefore  not 
ashamed  to  say  whither  he   is   bound,    and   very 


rarely  will  a  man  refuse  to  give  an  answer  to  the 
question  thus  asked.  I  think  that  there  is  also 
a  wish  implied,  as  in  so  many  of  their  salutations, 
that  a  blessing  may  rest  on  the  enterprise,  what- 
ever it  may  be.  Similar  phrases  are  also  used 
sometimes  with  the  same  meaning.  I  was  once 
riding  alone  in  a  very  out-of-the-way  part  of  the 
country,  when  I  met  an  old  peasant  woman.  She 
was  evidently  greatly  surprised  to  see  a  foreigner 
alone  in  that  out-of-the-way  place,  and,  after  gazing 
intently  at  me  for  a  moment  or  two,  greeted  me 
with  the  words  '  Wither  with  God  ?' 

A  traveller  passing  Fellahin  ploughing,  or  en- 
gaged in  any  other  hard  labour,  greets  them  with 
the  wish, '  Sah  badanu  '  (May  He  [God]  strengthen 
his  body) — that  is,  that  he  may  be  able  to  do  his 
work  properly.  The  one  so  addressed  replies, 
'  Badanu '  (His  body),  simply  reciprocating  his  wish, 
or,  on  the  principle  mentioned  above,  of  adding 
to  the  wish,  Badnnu  sellnnu  (His  body,  and  may 
[God]  give  him  peace,  or  health).  In  the  Belka 
and  other  parts  east  of  the  Jordan,  a  common 
greeting  by  the  way  is  the  phrase  '  Kowwak '  (pro- 
nounced '  gowwak,'  the  kaf,  as  is  usual  among  the 
Bedouin  and  the  Fellahin  of  Eastern  Palestine, 
being  sounded  as  a  hard  g),  viz.,  '  May  God 
strengthen  you,'  the  reply  to  which  is,  '  Kowivct ' — 
that  is,  '  I  am  strengthened.'  A  similar  salutation 
not  uncommonly  heard  is,  ■  El  axv'afah '  (Health). 
Among  the  Fellahin  a  host  who  is  looking  after 
his  guests,  and  going  in  and  out  among  the  people, 
will,  every  time  he  comes  into  the  room,  repeat 


the  ordinary  salutation  '  Good-day '  or  '  Good-even- 
ing,' according  to  the  time.  When  guests  arrive 
at  a  person's  house  or  the  guest-room  of  a  village, 
the  people  of  the  place  crowd  in,  usually,  to  see 
and  salute  them.  When  a  man  enters,  he  slips 
off  his  shoes  at  the  door,  and  walking  across  the 
room  to  the  principal  guest  (if  there  be  more  than 
one),  and  taking  the  latter's  right  hand  between  his 
two  hands,  says,  '  Selimat '  (Health,  or  Peace),  and 
then  does  the  same  to  the  other  guests  in  order 
of  their  rank.  Should  the  guest  be  a  man  of 
high  position,  as  a  Bishop,  Patriarch,  or  a  Sharif 
among  the  Moslems  (i.e.,  a  lineal  descendant  of 
Mohammed),  the  other  will  raise  the  guest's  hand  to 
his  lips  and  kiss  or  attempt  to  kiss  it,  the  other  often 
drawing  it  back,  as  though  unwilling  to  receive 
the  homage.  When  the  man  has  thus  saluted 
the  guests,  he  seats  himself  among  the  people 
present,  and  when  he  is  fairly  settled  in  his  place 
the  guests  turn  towards  him  and  wish  him  '  Good- 
evening,'  or  whatever  be  the  suitable  salutation, 
the  rest  of  the  company  following  suit,  all  this 
being  repeated  with  each  new  arrival. 

An  ordinary  question  is,  '  How  are  you  ?'  — 
literally,  '  How  is  your  state  V  Among  Moslems 
it  is  not  proper  to  inquire  after  a  man's  wife. 
Should  he  be  a  person  whom  one  knows  well, 
one  may  say,  ■  How  is  your  family  ?'  or,  '  How 
are  the  people  of  your  house  ?'  A  frequent 
reply  to  all  inquiries  like  these — or,  if  a  person 
has  been  ill,  to  a  question  as  to  how  his  health 
is  —  is,    'Praise    God,'   or,   '1    thank    the    Lord.' 


Indeed,  it  is  often  very  difficult  in  such  circum- 
stances to  ascertain  the  real  state  of  a  person's 
health,  it  being  considered  unlucky  for  anyone  to  say 
that  he  is  worse,  even  if  such  be  the  case.  Another 
reply  to  the  formal  inquiry,  '  How  are  you  ?'  is, 
1  Talit  nathurakj  an  answer  which  contains  one 
of  those  delicate  bits  of  flattery  at  which  Orientals 
are  adepts,  meaning  as  it  does,  '  I  am  under  your 
oversight'  (or  •  care '),  implying,  '  How  can  I  be 
otherwise  than  well  when  you  are  looking  after 
me  ?'  When  one  thanks  a  person  for  any  favour 
or  kindness  done,  he  often  says,  * Istaghfur  Allah' 
(I  beg  pardon  of  God),  as  though  by  being 
thanked  he  had  sinned  by  receiving  or  accepting 
what  was  due  to  God. 

At  the  New  Year  or  on  occasions  of  great 
festivals  a  special  greeting  is  used,  viz.,  '  Kul  es 
senneh  wet  entum  salhnin  '  (May  you  be  well,  or 
in  peace,  all  the  year),  the  reply  to  which  is,  '  Wa 
entum  salimin  (May  you,  too,  be  in  peace).  Another 
greeting  at  festivals  is,  '  El  'id  mubarak  fik '  (May 
the  feast  be  blessed  to  you),  the  answer  being 
simply,  '  Fik '  (And  to  you).  At  Easter,  moreover, 
the  well-known  salutations,  '  El  Masih  kam'  (Christ 
is  risen),  '  Hakkan  kam '  (He  is  risen  indeed),  are 
still  used  by  the  members  of  the  Orthodox  Greek 

When  a  person  is  leaving  after  a  call  or  visit,  he 
says  to  the  host, ' Khatarak' — literally,  'What  is  thy 
wish  ?' — to  which  the  other  answers,  (M'a  salameh* 
— literally, '  With  peace,'  meaning, '  My  wish  is  that 
you   may  return  home  in  peace  or  safety.'     This 

'GO  IN  PEACE'  269 

expression,  '  Go  in  peace,'  is  also  a  polite  way  of 
getting  rid  of  a  beggar  or  other  objectionable 
person,  and  perhaps  the  passage  2  Kings  v.  19 
ought  to  be  so  interpreted,  and  not,  as  is  generally 
done,  be  held  to  mean  that  the  prophet  assented 
to  Naaman's  wish.  As  a  guest  rides  away  from 
the  door  of  a  house  where  he  has  been  calling  or 
staying,  the  host  will  usually  ask  him  to  salute 
So-and-so  in  the  place  he  is  going  to,  or,  if  he 
does  not  know  anyone  there,  he  will  say  '  Sellim  * 

In  a  hot,  dry  country  like  Palestine,  large 
quantities  of  water  are  drunk,  and  when  people 
are  gathered  together  in  an  evening  the  water- 
bottle  is  going  round  frequently.  After  drinking, 
a  man  must  say  in  a  low  voice,  '  Praise  be  to  God,' 
on  which  those  near  him  say, '  Your  health,'  to  which 
he  replies,  '  May  God  give  thee  health.'  It  is  con- 
sidered a  very  bad  omen  if  no  one  says  this  when 
anyone  has  drunk.  A  story  is  told  of  a  wealthy 
Moslem  who,  when  he  went  on  a  pilgrimage  to 
Mecca,  hired  a  man  on  purpose  to  stand  near  him 
at  meals,  etc.,  and  say  '  Your  health '  after  he  had 
drunk.  For  several  days  the  man  never  said  a 
word,  and  at  last  his  employer  asked  him  why  he 
had  never  said  '  Your  health,'  and  the  other  replied, 
1  Because  you  never  said,  "  Praise  be  to  God.'" 

When  coffee  is  served  to  guests  or  others,  the 
person  who  presents  the  cup  does  so  with  his 
right  hand,  putting  his  left  on  his  chest,  and  say- 
ing, '  Tafaddul? — that  is,  '  Do  me  the  honour '  of 
taking  the  coffee — and  as   he  takes   it  the   other 


generally  says,  '  Isht '  (May  you  live  long),  while  as 
he  returns  the  cup  after  having  drunk,  he  says, 
iDaimeh,'  which  is,  literally,  'Always,' being  a  devout 
wish  that  the  host  may  always  have  coffee  to  give 
to  his  guests,  on  which  the  host,  or  else  the  person, 
often  a  member  of  the  family,  who  is  serving  the 
coffee,  says,  '  Sahatcn  '  (Two  healths).  If,  however, 
a  death  has  recently  occurred  in  the  house,  it  is 
not  proper  to  use  the  expression  '  Always '  after 
the  coffee,  as  it  might  be  taken  as  an  evil  wish 
that  there  might  always  be  a  death  in  the  family. 

After  a  death  in  a  house,  when  entering  it,  or 
on  meeting  a  person  who  has  recently  lost  a  near 
relation  or  friend,  instead  of  the  ordinary  saluta- 
tion, one  says, ' Salamat  rasak1  (The  health,  or  peace, 
of  thy  head),  the  other  responding  with  •  Salamat 
ouladak'  (The  health  of  thy  children).  When  a 
person  who  has  been  away  for  a  considerable  time 
from  a  village  is  inquiring  about  the  people  there, 
and  happens  to  ask  after  anyone  who  is  dead, 
instead  of  saying  directly  '  So-and-so  is  dead,'  they 
say,  lAtdk  umrahu''  (He  has  given  you  his  life  [or 
age]),  this  being  equivalent  to  a  wish  that  God 
may  add  to  the  life  of  the  other  the  years  which 
the  dead  man  would  have  lived  had  he  fulfilled 
the  complete  term  of  his  existence.  I  have  even 
heard  it  used  hypothetically  of  a  sick  person  who 
was  known  to  be  dying.  Thus,  once  riding  home 
to  Jerusalem,  I  overtook  a  young  fellow  I  knew, 
and  stopped  to  inquire  after  an  old  man  in  his 
village  who  was  dangerously  ill.  '  Probably  he 
has  given  you  his  life '  was  the  reply,  meaning, 


of  course,  that  by  then  he  had  probably  passed 

With  the  word  '  Blessed,'  we  greet  a  friend  who 
has  moved  into  a  new  house,  or  to  whom  a  child 
has  been  born,  or  other  piece  of  good  fortune 
come  ;  he  replies,  '  May  you  be  blessed.' 

If  a  person  is  wearing  a  new  garment,  or  has 
any  new  thing  with  him,  and  another  congratulates 
him  about  it,  he  will  sometimes  reply  with  the 
words,  '  Alalhabl  idak'  (Your  hand  is  on  the  rope), 
as  much  as  to  say,  '  It  is  at  your  disposal,'  and 
should  the  other  reply,  '  Hdtt '  (Give),  he  would  be 
obliged  to  give  it  him.  The  precise  meaning  of 
this  curious  phrase  is  very  variously  explained, 
some  explanations  of  it  being  very  far-fetched. 
The  idea  is,  I  believe,  really  a  simple  one,  and 
taken  from  that  of  an  animal  tethered  by  a  rope, 
one  end  of  which  is  in  the  owner's  hand,  who  thus 
can  make  it  go  wherever  he  wishes. 

There  is  a  great  deal  of  etiquette  about  salu- 
tations, though  often  it  is  not  observed.  Thus, 
a  man  riding  should  always  first  salute  a  man 
walking ;  a  man  riding  a  horse  must  first  salute 
one  riding  a  donkey.  Moreover,  should  a  man 
riding  by  on  a  horse  salute  another  sitting  by 
the  roadside,  the  latter  must  not  rise,  as  he 
otherwise  would,  to  return  the  salute,  lest  his 
doing  so  suddenly  should  frighten  the  horse, 
making  it  rear  and  throw  its  rider.  Again, 
should  a  man  enter  a  room  where  guests  are  at 
a  meal,  he  must  not  salute  them  at  once,  but 
wait   till   they  have   done   eating,  as   Arab   rules 


of  politeness  require  a  greeting  to  be  instantly- 
returned,  and  one  of  them  might  have  his  mouth 
full  at  the  moment,  and  be  choked  in  the  attempt 
to  reply  to  the  other's  greeting. 

Kissing  the  hand  by  way  of  salutation  has 
already  been  mentioned.  In  many  cases  this  is 
actually  done,  not  only  by  an  inferior  to  a 
superior,  but  children  to  their  parents,  even  when 
the  former  are  grown  up.  A  man  who  has  been 
absent  from  home  for  some  time  will,  on  entering 
the  house,  greet  his  father  thus,  and  it  is  a  beautiful 
sight  to  see  a  strong  middle-aged  man  gracefully 
stoop  and  raise  his  old  white-haired  father's  hand 
to  his  lips.  A  wife  will  also  greet  her  husband 
in  this  way  if  he  has  been  away  several  days. 
Indeed,  in  Palestine  it  would  be  considered  highly 
improper  for  a  man  to  kiss  his  wife  before  others, 
or  a  brother  a  sister,  as  is  done  in  Europe.  Among 
the  Christians  a  priest  will  kiss  his  Bishop's  hand, 
and  the  laity  will  kiss  the  right  hand  of  a  priest. 
Often  when  inquiring  after  a  child  the  father  or 
mother  will  say,  '  He  kisses  your  hand.' 

I  have  no  doubt  in  my  own  mind  but  that  it 
was  thus  that  the  traitor  Judas  greeted  the  Saviour 
in  the  Garden  of  Gethsemane  (St.  Matt.  xxvi. 
48,  49).  It  would  be  a  perfectly  natural  salutation 
to  his  Master  on  the  part  of  a  disciple  who  had 
been  some  hours  absent,  and  would  therefore  not 
excite  the  suspicion  of  the  other  apostles,  while 
at  the  same  time  it  would  clearly  indicate  to  the 
soldiers  the  Prophet  of  Nazareth.  On  the  other 
hand,  a  kiss  on  the  cheek,  as  Western  pictures  of 


our  Blessed  Lord's  betrayal  always  represent  it, 
though  used  in  Palestine,  would  only  be  given 
by  very  dear  friends  or  near  relatives  after  a 
prolonged  absence. 

To  kiss  the  feet  is  a  rare,  though  not  unknown, 
greeting,  and  indicates  the  lowest  depths  of  humilia- 
tion, the  most  earnest  entreaty,  or  the  deepest 
gratitude.  Occasionally  persons  will  actually 
throw  themselves  on  the  ground  at  the  feet  of 
him  whom  they  thus  entreat,  but  more  often  they 
will  kiss  their  own  fingers  and  then  try  to  touch 
the  feet  of  the  other.  This  latter  mode  of  saluta- 
tion is  a  common  one,  and  is  alluded  to  as  an  act 
of  worship  in  Job  xxxi.  27. 

To  kiss  the  beard  (either  actually,  or  by  touch- 
ing it  with  the  right  hand,  as  mentioned  just  above) 
is  also  a  token  of  great  respect  or  of  humble 
supplication.  Several  times  have  persons  who 
wanted  some  special  favour  from  me  tried  to  thus 
show  their  respect.  This,  too,  seems  to  me  the 
explanation  of  the  action  of  Joab  mentioned  in 
2  Sam.  xx.  9 — viz.,  that  he  touched  or  took  hold 
of  Amasa's  beard  to  kiss  it,  hypocritically  pretend- 
ing to  pay  great  honour  to  him  whom  David  had 
just  appointed  captain  of  the  host,  and  while  stoop- 
ing to  salute  him  thus  both  disarmed  his  rival's 
suspicions  and  saw  where  to  strike  the  fatal  blow. 

Beards   are  universally  worn  by  the  men,  and 

one  who  cannot  grow  a  beard  is  looked  upon  as 

something  uncanny,  and   the  Moslems  especially 

think  it  most  unlucky  to  meet  such   a   man   on 

setting  out  on  a  journey.      There   is   a   proverb 



about  this  which  runs :  '  Meet  goblins  in  the 
morning  rather  than  a  beardless  man.'  The  beard 
is  much  respected  by  them.  '  How  is  your  beard  V 
is  a  salutation  I  once  heard.  '  May  God  reward 
your  beard !'  was  a  blessing  once  invoked  on  me 
by  a  would-be  recipient  of  alms.  A  man  with 
a  sharp-pointed  beard — indicative,  I  believe,  of  a 
pure  Arabic  descent — is  supposed  by  the  Fellahin 
to  have  special  intellectual  power.  Such  a  man 
is  called  a  Kusah.  In  illustration  of  this  they 
tell  the  following  story:  'The  great  enemy  of 
mankind,  wishing  to  find  a  pretext  to  injure  the 
people  of  a  certain  village,  sent  his  son  to  ask 
them  to  weave  a  carpet  of  flint.  He  told  the 
messenger  that  on  no  account  was  he  to  ask  the 
question  if  a  KHsah  were  present.  When  he 
arrived  at  the  village,  he  found  all  the  elders 
assembled  in  the  guest-house,  and,  looking  round, 
could  see  no  one  at  all  answering  to  the  descrip- 
tion of  the  man  he  was  to  avoid.  Accordingly 
he  proffered  his  request.  It  so  happened,  however, 
that  there  was  such  a  man  there,  lying  down 
behind  a  row  of  people,  and  covered  with  a  cloak. 
When  the  evil  spirit  had  done  speaking  this  man 
rose  up  and  said  :  "  Tell  him  who  sent  you  that  if 
he  will  spin  the  flint  into  thread  we  will  weave  it 
into  a  carpet  for  him."  Whereupon  the  fiend 
retired  discomfited.'  This  story  is  widely  known, 
and,  though  foolish  enough  to  Western  ears,  is 
often  alluded  to,  and  men  of  this  description  are 
liable  to  much  fun  being  made  of  them,  but  they 
are  generally  equal  to  the  occasion. 

A  KUSAH  275 

Recently  one  of  them  went  to  a  large  village 
in  the  Nablus  district,  and  as  usual  was  taken  to 
the  guest-house.  One  of  the  elders  of  the  place, 
who  had  a  very  fine  beard,  welcomed  him,  and 
then  said  laughingly :  '  Sir  Kusah,  can  you  spin 
flint?'  The  latter  made  no  reply,  but  after  a 
while,  when  a  number  of  people  were  assembled, 
and  there  was  a  lull  in  the  conversation,  he  said : 
'  I  want  to  buy  hair ;  is  there  any  to  be  had  in 
your  village  V  *  Oh  yes,  plenty,'  said  his  hosts. 
t  How  much  per  rottle  (6|  pounds)  ?'  'So  much,' 
was  the  reply.  Then,  pointing  to  the  fine  beard  of 
the  joker,  he  asked :  '  How  many  beards  like  this 
will  it  take  to  make  a  rottle  ?'  There  was  a  roar 
of  laughter  at  the  other's  expense,  and  he  was  so 
teased  about  it  that  he  was  glad  to  purchase  silence 
by  a  good  present  to  the  Kusah. 

Neighbours  play  a  very  important  part  in  the 
daily  life  of  the  Fellahin,  both  for  good  and  evil. 
This  is  more  or  less  inevitable  in  all  countries, 
but  particularly  so  in  Eastern  lands,  where  the 
houses  are  crowded  together  much  more  closely 
than  is  the  case  in  our  English  villages.  There 
are  in  Palestine  no  outlying  farmhouses,  and  no 
labourers'  cottages  scattered  here  and  there.  Till 
quite  recent  years  no  one  would  have  dared  to 
build  a  house  by  itself  away  in  the  open  country, 
and  even  to-day,  although  there  is  much  greater 
security  than  formerly,  it  would  not  always  be 
safe  to  do  so.  The  houses  are  all  found  in  the 
villages,  and  usually  are  crowded  together  as 
closely  as  possible,  chiefly,  no  doubt,  for  mutual 



protection.  The  smaller  the  circumference  of  the 
village  ceteris  paribus,  the  easier  it  was  to  defend 
it  in  case  of  attack.  Consequently  the  houses  join 
each  other,  or  several  will  be  built  round  a  common 
courtyard,  all  opening  into  it.  This  naturally 
throws  the  inhabitants  of  adjacent  houses  or  rooms 
very  much  together ;  consequently  the  mere  fact  of 
a  man  being  a  neighbour  is  held  to  constitute  a 
claim  on  his  good  offices.  Hence  the  proverb,  g  A 
neighbour  who  is  near  by  rather  than  a  brother  who 
is  far  off.'  Even  where  the  neighbour  is  not  all  he 
ought  to  be,  it  is  recognised  that  one  has  a  duty  to 
him,  as  says  the  proverb,  •  Neighbour,  you  must 
bear  with  your  neighbour,  even  if  he  throw  stones 
at  you.'  On  the  other  hand,  the  evils  of  bad  neigh- 
bours are  fully  recognised.  Thus  one  of  their 
proverbs  says :  ■  A  house  without  a  neighbour  is 
worth  a  hundred  dinars ';  and  again :  '  Inquire 
about  the  neighbour  before  you  ask  about  the 
house.'  A  sound  piece  of  advice  is  contained  in 
the  following  :  '  If  your  neighbour  hate  you,  change 
the  door  of  your  house ' ;  while  '  A  bad  neighbour 
is  infectious  '  is  profoundly  true.  Another,  '  Search 
your  house  several  times  before  you  suspect  your 
neighbour,'  if  carried  out  everywhere,  would  prevent 
much  trouble  and  quarrelling  in  other  countries 
besides  Palestine. 

The  Fellahin  are  exceedingly  hospitable,  and  are 
always  ready  to  give  food  to  any  guest  or  stranger 
who  asks  it.  This  hospitality  is  looked  on  as  a 
religious  duty,  and  is  most  ungrudgingly  dispensed. 

Along  the  great  caravan  routes  and  other  main 


lines  of  travel  khans  or  inns  will  be  found.  In 
olden  times  Kings  and  great  men  sometimes  built 
such  places  where  needed  ;  the  beautiful  ruined 
Khan  et  Tujjar  on  the  road  between  Tiberias 
and  Tabor  will  be  an  instance  familiar  to  most 
travellers  in  Palestine.  Such  places  seem  to  have 
existed  in  Old  Testament  times  also,  as  the  Khan 
of  Chinham  mentioned  in  Jer.  xli.  17.  Off  the 
lines  of  travel  no  such  places  are  to  be  found  in 
the  country  districts  where  the  passing  stranger  can 
get  food  and  shelter. 

Each  village,  however,  has  its  guest-house,  and  if 
large,  or  its  principal  men  wealthy,  there  may  be 
several.  These  guest-rooms  play  an  important 
part  in  the  village  life.  Here  any  strangers  who 
may  wish  for  a  night's  lodging  are  received,  if  they 
have  no  friends  or  relations  in  the  place.  Here, 
too,  come  the  Government  officials  when  collecting 
taxes,  or  on  any  other  business.  In  the  guest-house 
the  villagers  gather  when  a  stranger  arrives  in  order 
to  hear  the  news,  for  newspapers  are  but  rarely  seen 
in  the  country  places,  and  but  few  comparatively 
can  read,  so  they  still  depend  largely  on  passing 
strangers  or  a  chance  visitor  from  a  town  for  their 
knowledge  of  what  is  happening  in  the  outside 
world.  The  guest-house  is  sometimes  a  room  in 
the  sheikh's  house,  but  more  commonly  it  is  a 
building  by  itself  in  a  central  position,  and  occa- 
sionally, chiefly  in  the  smaller  hamlets,  the  same 
room  is  guest-house  and  mosque.  It  is  a  large 
room  absolutely  devoid  of  furniture  ;  there  is  often 
a  sort  of  hearth  in  the  centre  where  a  fire  is  lit 


when  needed  for  making  coffee  for  guests,  or  in 
cold  weather  for  warmth.  The  roof  is  generally 
black  with  the  smoke  of  years,  as  there  is  rarely 
any  sort  of  chimney,  and  the  smoke  fills  the  apart- 
ment, escaping  only  through  the  door  and  window. 

It  is  a  picturesque  sight  which  these  guest-rooms 
present  at  night,  with  a  crowd  of  swarthy  men 
seated  on  the  ground  in  various  easy  attitudes 
around  the  central  hearth,  on  which  burns  a  fire  of 
twigs,  the  bright  blaze  lighting  up  their  weather- 
beaten  faces  and  bringing  into  sharp  relief  the 
white  beards  of  the  older  men.  The  long  pipes  are 
filled  and  lit,  and  their  smoke  mingles  with  that  of 
the  fire.  There  is  the  hum  of  conversation  all 
round,  or  else  breathless  silence  while  someone  tells 
a  thrilling  tale  of  adventure,  robbery,  or  war ;  or  an 
animated  discussion  takes  place  over  some  matter 
of  keen  local  interest.  Many  an  evening  have  I 
spent  in  the  village  guest-houses,  and  many  an 
attentive  audience  have  I  had  as  I  told  the  story 
of  redemption  in  Jesus  Christ  to  the  Moslem 

If  a  guest  arrives  during  the  day  for  an  hour  or 
two's  rest,  a  mat  will  be  spread  for  him,  and 
mattresses  and  cushions  fetched  from  the  sheikh's 
house,  and  he  will  be  urged  to  take  his  rest ;  food 
will  generally  be  quickly  brought — two  or  three 
loaves  of  bread  and  some  olives,  or  grapes  or  figs, 
according  to  the  time  of  year,  or,  if  a  person  of 
importance,  a  fowl  will  be  killed  and  quickly 
cooked  for  him.  If,  however,  he  stay  the  night,  a 
more  substantial  meal  will  be  provided.     After  the 

SUPPER  279 

evening  prayers  in  the  mosque,  a  large  copper  tray 
or  wooden  bowl,  heaped  high  with  boiled  rice  or 
cracked  wheat,  or  sometimes  with  wheat  below,  for 
the  ordinary  guests,  and  rice  above  for  the  more 
distinguished  ones,  is  brought  in.  On  the  rice  are 
joints  of  meat,  mutton,  or  goat's  flesh  (the  ordinary 
peasants  never  eat  beef),  and  the  master  of  the 
ceremonies  carries  an  armful  of  round  flat  loaves  of 
bread  which  he  distributes  at  intervals  round  the 
dish.  The  guests  then  take  their  places,  having 
first  washed  their  hands.  With  a  '  In  the  name  of 
God,'  each  plunges  his  right  hand  into  the  pile  of 
rice,  and  dexterously  rolling  up  a  ball  of  it,  conveys 
it  to  his  mouth.  The  meat,  which  is  always  boiled, 
is  very  thoroughly  cooked,  so  that  it  is  easy  to 
detach  pieces  with  the  right  hand,  it  being  con- 
sidered very  bad  manners,  especially  by  the 
Moslems,  to  use  the  left  hand.  The  sheikh 
waits  personally  on  the  guests,  often  holding  the 
light  that  they  may  better  see,  urging  them  to  eat, 
or  tearing  off  some  dainty  piece  and  putting  it 
before  some  guest  whom  he  wishes  specially  to 

The  Fellahin  do  not  usually  drink  till  towards 
the  close  of  a  meal,  and  then  they  do  so  as  a  rule 
from  the  Slierbeh,  or  water  cooler,  which  is  a  small 
pitcher  with  a  spout  at  one  side,  from  which  they 
pour  the  water  into  their  mouths  without  touching 
the  vessel  with  their  lips,  as  they  all  have  the 
knack  of  swallowing  the  water  with  their  mouths 
wide  open. 

After  supper  coffee  is  invariably  served.     This 


beverage  is  so  widely  used  that  it  may  almost  be 
said  to  be  a  necessary  of  the  Arab's  life.  On  the 
arrival  of  guests  it  is  always  offered  to  them,  being 
made  then  and  there.  If  no  fire  be  actually 
burning  at  the  time,  a  few  sticks  are  taken  and 
kindled,  and  the  requisite  number  of  coffee-beans 
are  placed  in  a  large  shallow  iron  spoon  and  care- 
fully roasted  over  the  flame,  being  stirred  with  an 
iron  rod  all  the  time  to  prevent  them  burning. 
When  sufficiently  roasted  they  are  poured  into  a 
mortar  made  of  stone  or  wood,  and  pounded  with 
a  wooden  pestal,  the  coffee-maker  beating  a  sort  of 
tattoo  on  the  sides  and  bottom  of  the  mortar  with 
the  pestle  as  he  does  so.  This  sound  produced  by 
anyone  who  is  clever  at  it  is  much  admired  by  the 
Arabs,  and  is  not  unpleasing  to  a  European  ear. 
When  pounded,  the  fragrant  powder  is  put  in  a 
deep  brass  or  iron  pot,  with  the  due  amount  of 
water,  and  placed  on  the  embers  to  boil.  To  get 
the  full  flavour  out  of  it,  it  ought  to  be  brought  to 
the  boil  four  or  five  times,  being  allowed  to  subside 
as  often  by  removing  the  vessel  for  a  few  seconds 
from  the  fire.  When  ready,  the  coffee-maker  takes 
one  or  more  china  cups,  which  he  usually  washes 
out  first,  and,  pouring  a  little  coffee  into  one  cup, 
next  empties  it  into  the  other  cups  in  succession, 
and  then  drinks  it  himself.  This  is  to  show  that 
there  is  no  poison  in  any  of  the  cups,  a  common 
method  of  getting  rid  of  an  enemy  being  by  means 
of  a  cup  of  poisoned  coffee.  The  preliminaries 
being  concluded,  the  coffee  is  served  out. 

The  cups,  which  are  of  various  shapes,  contain 



7     i  ice pc  ;»   ..■■:!. 


usually  but  little  more  than  a  good-sized  egg-cup, 
and  are  filled  about  two-thirds  full.  It  is  proper  to 
sip  it  slowly,  and  somewhat  noisily,  to  show  one's 
appreciation  of  it !  Guests  or  strangers,  in  order 
of  rank  or  precedence,  are  always  served  first, 
unless  there  be  someone  of  much  higher  position 
than  anyone  else  present.  It  is  drunk  both 
sweetened  and  unsweetened,  the  latter  being 
always  served  after  a  meal,  and  milk  is  never 
added ;  at  other  times  a  guest  will  often  be  asked 
whether  he  prefers  it  '  sweet '  or  '  bitter.'  When 
the  cup  is  returned  to  the  server,  the  latter  receives 
it  in  his  left  hand,  and  immediately  covers  it  with 
his  right,  lest  the  guest's  feelings  should  be  offended 
by  the  sight  of  the  grounds  !  The  Fellahin  are 
great  connoisseurs  of  coffee,  though  not  quite  so 
much  so,  perhaps,  as  the  Bedouin,  and  it  is  used  on 
all  manner  of  occasions.  Hardly  ever  is  a  bargain 
set  about  without  this  preliminary  ;  every  guest  as 
he  arrives  must  be  welcomed  with  it,  and  it  is 
wonderful  how  it  smooths  over  obstacles  and 
prepares  the  way  for  an  amicable  settlement  of 
difficult  and  contentious  matters.  In  my  itinerant 
missionary  work  I  have,  times  without  number, 
proved  it  invaluable  in  collecting  an  attentive 
audience  to  listen  to  my  message. 

Children  are  not  usually  given  coffee  in  the 
guest-houses,  or  on  public  occasions,  and  when  a 
youth  begins  to  have  it  habitually  he  is  considered 
to  have  come  to  man's  estate.  A  few  of  the  more 
ascetic  Moslems  do  not  drink  coffee,  classing  it 
with  alcoholic  beverages  forbidden  by  their  prophet. 


Technically  speaking,  no  doubt  they  are  right,  the 
Arabic  word  for  coffee  being  an  archaic  term  for 
wine.  But  there  can  be  little  doubt  but  that  it 
was  transferred  to  coffee,  and  that  the  latter  is  not 
included  in  the  prohibition  referred  to  in  the  Koran. 

The  food  and  coffee  for  guests,  and  fodder  for 
their  horses,  is  usually  supplied  at  the  cost  of  the 
villagers  in  general,  but  different  plans  are  adopted 
in  different  places  for  assessing  the  people.  In  one 
village  I  know,  the  families  in  rotation  supply  any 
guests  there  may  be  with  supper.  In  this  case 
each  family  gives  some  different  article  to  the 
sheikh  of  the  place,  and  he  arranges  these  in  order ; 
and  when  the  family  whose  object  is  next  in  the 
row  has  provided  supper  in  its  turn,  its  token  is 
removed  and  placed  last,  and  so  on  till  the  whole  is 
finished,  and  the  turns  begin  again. 

In  another  place  I  know  well  the  food  for  the 
soldiers  who  come  to  collect  the  taxes,  and  the  corn 
for  their  horses,  is  assessed  on  the  people  according 
to  the  amount  of  land  each  owns.  The  name  of 
each  proprietor  of  land  is  written  on  one  or  more 
pieces  of  paper,  according  to  the  smaller  or  larger 
number  of  Feddadin,  or  acres,  he  has,  these  pieces 
of  paper  being  strung  on  a  thread  which  is  then 
fastened  to  a  stick  in  shape  of  a  bow,  all  the  papers 
being  pushed  to  one  end.  Each  time  a  man  (the 
next  in  order)  provides  food  or  fodder  for  the 
soldiers  the  piece  of  paper  bearing  his  name  is 
pushed  to  the  other  end  of  the  string.  At  yet 
other  places  the  villagers  pay  a  fixed  amount  per 
annum  towards  the  cost  of  entertaining  guests. 


miscellaneous  (continued) 

Justice  was  formerly  almost  exclusively  adminis- 
tered by  the  village  sheikhs,  and  though,  since  the 
introduction  by  the  late  Midhat  Pasha  of  European 
modes  of  civil  government,  the  Ottoman  Power  has 
taken  these  matters  more  into  its  own  immediate 
control,  yet  many  cases  are  settled  locally  without 
ever  coming  into  the  Turkish  courts.  This  holds 
good  not  only  in  minor  matters,  but  even  in  such 
serious  ones  as  murder.  Custom  and  unwritten 
law  have  much  to  do  with  these  things,  and  though 
now  the  Turkish  authorities  intervene  in  many 
cases,  yet  there  are  very  many  of  which  they  never 
hear,  or  of  which  they  take  no  cognizance.  In  the 
cases  where  they  do  intervene  I  have  never  once 
known  the  death  penalty  to  be  inflicted,  even  where 
there  was  no  manner  of  doubt  as  to  the  man's  guilt. 
The  utmost  that  has  been  done  in  such  cases  is  to 
sentence  the  criminal  to  fifteen  years'  imprison- 
ment, which  is  usually  carried  out  in  the  '  Blood 
Prison  '  of  Jerusalem  or  in  that  of  Acca — a  punish- 
ment which,  as  the  natives  themselves  say,  is 
wholly  inadequate  as  a  deterrent.     Where,   how- 



ever,  the  people  take  the  matter  into  their  own 
hands,  blood  can,  as  a  rule,  only  be  atoned  for  by 
blood.  Thus,  if  a  man  were  murdered,  his  relations 
might  kill  any  member  of  the  family  of  the  man 
who  had  committed  the  crime,  however  distantly 
connected  he  might  be,  and  nothing  would  be  said  ; 
or,  instead  of  putting  the  murderer  to  death,  they 
might  plunder  him  of  everything.  Failing  any 
relation  of  the  criminal,  any  friend,  or  even  anyone 
from  the  same  clan  or  village,  may  be  put  to  death. 
This  custom  is  still  in  force.  Some  years  ago  I 
was  travelling  east  of  the  Jordan  in  a  district  with 
which  I  was  unfamilar,  and  accordingly  took  a 
guide  with  me,  who  was  to  go  as  far  as  a  certain 
town  in  Western  Palestine,  the  latter  part  of  the 
journey  being  quite  new  to  him.  The  last  day, 
after  we  had  crossed  the  Jordan,  I  happened  to 
mention  incidentally  that  we  should  pass  a  certain 
village,  at  which  he  expressed  great  alarm,  telling 
me  that  a  man  from  there  had  lately  been  murdered 
at  his  village,  and  the  murder  having  been  not  yet 
arranged  about,  he  felt  sure  he  would  be  killed 
were  he  recognised  by  the  people  of  the  place  we 
were  approaching  as  being  from  the  district  where 
the  murder  occurred.  Happily  he  was  not  detected, 
but  he  was  in  great  trepidation  till  we  had  got 
safely  past. 

Sometimes  a  murder  is  settled  by  a  money  pay- 
ment arranged  between  the  relations  of  the  murderer 
and  murdered  person.  Recently  a  man  from  a 
village  near  Jerusalem  murdered  another  from  a 
place  in  the  maritime  plain.     The  affair  was  finally 



S     ^'V:y' 

*    -Jk 

"  RUJ.M. 

Tofaeepage  285. 


settled  by  the  people  of  the  former  place  paying  a 
sum  of  £200  to  the  people  of  the  latter,  and  giving 
a  girl  also,  worth  at  least  £50,  as  a  bride  to  a  man 
there,  the  people  from  the  village  in  the  plain  being 
allowed  to  come  and  choose  any  girl  there. 

In  cases  where  a  man  is  murdered,  and  the 
murderer  is  also  killed  on  the  spot,  no  information 
is  given  to  the  Government,  and  no  more  notice  is 
taken  of  it,  as  the  affair  is  considered  to  be  closed 
by  the  death  of  the  latter. 

If  a  man  is  found  murdered  by  the  wayside,  a 
small  cairn  of  stones  is  piled  upon  the  spot,  and 
each  person  from  the  dead  man's  village,  as  he 
passes,  throws  a  stone  upon  it  until  the  murder  is 
arranged,  or  until,  from  lapse  of  time,  the  affair 
ceases  to  be  remembered.  Such  cairns  are  often 
seen  near  the  road,  and  are  known  as  Rujm  Ful&n 
(So-and-so's  heap),  or  simply  as  Meshad — i.e.,  a 

There  are  villages  in  different  parts  of  the  country 
whose  inhabitants  are  notorious  as  thieves  ;  indeed, 
there  are  people  whose  business  is  to  go  about  the 
country  stealing  animals.  I  once  came  across  a 
couple  of  these  fellows  who  were  professional 
donkey-stealers.  They  would  cut  out  a  straggling 
ass  from  a  caravan,  or  an  animal  which  had  been 
sent  out  to  graze  with  others,  and  which  had 
wandered  too  far  from  a  not  overwatchful  herds- 
man. These  men  would  not  stop  at  murder  should 
the  owner  arrive  on  the  scene  and  attempt  to 
recover  his  property,  provided  the  risks  were  not 
too  great.     There  is  a  not  inconsiderable  amount 


of  cattle-stealing  in  the  same  way,  the  animals 
being  driven  to  a  convenient  town  and  sold  to  the 
butchers  ;  and  if  common  report  is  to  be  credited, 
a  good  deal  of  the  beef  sold  in  Jerusalem  is  obtained 
in  this  manner. 

A  certain  amount  of  smuggling  is  carried  on  in 
salt.  Salt  is  a  monopoly  of  the  Turkish  Govern- 
ment, which  manufactures  immense  quantities  from 
sea-water.  This  is  sold  throughout  the  country, 
each  family  in  the  villages  having  to  buy  from  the 
authorities  a  certain  amount  per  annum.  As  is 
well  known,  enormous  deposits  of  salt  exist  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  the  Dead  Sea,  and  this  is 
smuggled  to  a  small  extent  by  the  Bedouin,  who 
bring  it  by  night  to  the  villages  and  sell  it  at  a 
much  lower  rate  than  the  Government  article. 

There  is  a  bad  custom,  happily  but  rarely  found, 
of  injuring  people,  or  of  revenging  an  injury,  real 
or  imaginary,  which  consists  in  cutting  down  a 
person's  olive  or  other  fruit-bearing  trees,  or  injuring 
them  so  that  they  gradually  die.  It  is,  however, 
looked  upon  by  the  people  themselves  as  particularly 
barbarous,  and  is  but  seldom  resorted  to ;  but  I 
have  known  a  few  cases  of  it,  one  of  them  being  of 
a  particularly  atrocious  character.  A  man  died, 
leaving  to  his  only  son,  a  child,  certain  property, 
part  of  which  consisted  of  fruit-trees — olives,  figs, 
etc. — the  land  on  which  they  grew,  in  accordance 
with  the  peculiar  tenure  already  explained,  not 
being  his.  One  morning  it  was  found  that  during 
the  night  all  the  trees  had  been  cut  down,  doubtless 
by,  or  at  the  instigation  of,  the  owner  of  the  ground, 


the  child  thus  losing,  by  Turkish  law,  all  claim  to 
the  ground,  and  its  value  to  the  other  owner  being  of 
course  greatly  enhanced  thereby.  No  attempt  was 
ever  made,  as  far  as  1  know,  to  bring  the  offenders 
to  justice. 

If  a  person  who  is  much  disliked  for  any  reason 
leaves  a  village,  at  the  time  of  his  departure  some- 
one takes  an  old  jar,  or  other  earthenware  vessel  of 
no  value,  and  as  the  obnoxious  individual  goes  out 
of  the  place  dashes  it  to  the  ground  behind  him, 
shattering  it  in  pieces.  Two  ideas  underlie  this, 
one  being  that  the  person  against  whom  it  is 
directed  is  as  worthless  as  the  old  jar,  and  the  other 
the  hope  that  their  return  will  be  as  impossible  as 
the  restoration  of  the  shattered  vessel. 

Beggars  are  numerous  in  Palestine,  and  will 
become  more  so,  since  the  poverty  of  the  country 
as  a  whole  is  steadily  increasing.  I  do  not  mean 
by  beggars  the  people  who  tease  travellers  on  the 
beaten  tourist  track  for  Backshish,  an  annoyance 
for  which  the  travellers  themselves  are  chiefly 
responsible,  but  those  who  are  systematic  beggars. 
There  are  what  may  be  called  professional  beggars, 
who  year  by  year  put  in  an  appearance  in  the  chief 
towns  as  the  tourist  season  comes  on,  and  of  whom 
a  few  are  well  off.  There  are  many  others,  chiefly 
from  the  villages,  who  are  really  very  poor,  or  who 
are  from  some  bodily  infirmity  unable  to  work,  and 
have  no  one  to  support  them.  They  may  be  seen, 
any  day  almost,  sitting  by  the  wayside  with  out- 
stretched hand  (an  attitude  which  probably  suggested 
to  St.  Paul  the  graphic  simile  in  Rom.  viii.  19)  near 


some  well-frequented  shrine,  or  outside  the  gate  of 
a  city,  asking  for  alms.  '  Alms  !'  they  cry — ■  alms, 
sir !'  '  Alms,  O  lady !'  '  May  God  preserve  your 
children !'  ■  An  offering '  (that  is,  to  God) ;  or, 
more  simply  still,  '  God  exists,'  'God  is  gracious.' 
Or  they  come  round  to  the  houses  with  their  im- 
portunate cry.  They  receive  a  great  deal  from  the 
people,  chiefly  in  the  shape  of  food,  alms-giving 
being  repeatedly  enjoined  on  Moslems  in  the 
Koran,  and  being  considered  to  win  merit  in  the 
world  to  come.  In  rich  families,  if  a  member  is 
sick,  loaves  of  bread  will  be  put  round  the  patient's 
bed,  and  then  given  to  the  beggars  in  hope  that  it 
will  be  accepted  as  an  offering  to  God  on  his  behalf, 
and  that  he  will  recover. 

Borrowing  is  one  of  the  curses  of  Palestine ; 
almost  everyone  borrows,  and  the  rate  of  interest  is 
abnormally  high — this  not  so  much  because  of 
insufficient  security  as  because  the  borrower  is  at 
the  mercy  of  the  lender.  Most  men,  do  what  they 
will,  have  at  times  to  borrow,  chiefly  because  of  the 
changed  and  changing  conditions  of  life  and  govern- 
ment to  which  a  people,  one  of  the  most  conserva- 
tive on  the  face  of  the  earth,  naturally  is  very 
slow  in  adapting  itself.  As  has  been  already  men- 
tioned, the  Fellah  may  be  comfortably  off,  well 
clad,  have  abundance  of  wheat,  a  good  store  of 
dried  figs,  lentils,  barley,  etc.,  in  his  bins,  a  flock  of 
goats  and  sheep,  several  yoke  of  oxen,  a  good  mare 
or  two,  and  yet  possess  hardly  any  money.  One 
day  the  Government  officials  appear,  usually  with- 
out warning,  at  his  village,  and  he  has  to  pay  a 

USURY  289 

large  sum  down  in  hard  cash.  After  scraping 
together  every  para  that  he  can  find,  and  calling 
in  all  the  small  local  debts  due  to  him,  he  is  still 
a  large  amount  short.  What  can  he  do  ?  A 
merchant  from  the  city  is  there,  or  a  Moslem 
grandee,  with  his  pockets  full  of  dollars,  and  he 
is  willing  to  accommodate  our  Fellah ;  but  he 
must  have  not  only  substantial  security,  but  a  good 
rate  of  interest  also — 20,  25,  even  30  per  cent. 
(I  have  known  40  per  cent,  demanded  and  given 
for  a  large  loan).  •  What  can  I  do  ?'  says  the  poor 
man.  He  knows  quite  well  that,  were  he  to  say, 
4 1  can't  get  the  money  just  now,'  he  would  be 
probably  marched  off  to  prison,  if  unable  to  bribe 
the  collector  to  wait ;  besides  which  it  would  cost 
him  a  great  deal  more  to  get  out  of  prison,  in 
addition  to  his  loss  of  time,  than  the  interest  he 
must  pay  to  the  money-lender.  Then,  if  the 
harvest  be  a  failure,  or  the  olive  crop  short,  and  he 
cannot  repay  the  principal,  the  enormous  interest 
runs  on  and  has  to  be  paid  year  by  year. 

Few  of  the  peasants  are  provident  enough,  when 
they  have  money,  to  put  any  by  for  taxes  or  other 
emergency,  so  when  there  is  any  sudden  demand  for 
ready-money,  the  man  who  has  it  to  lend  can  make 
almost  any  terms  he  likes.  Savings-banks  are  un- 
known ;  the  few  banks  there  are  in  the  country  are 
all  in  the  towns,  at  a  considerable  distance  often, 
and  none  of  them  will  now,  I  believe,  lend  on  the 
security  of  land,  and  if  they  did,  their  history  has 
sometimes  not  been  such  as  to  inspire  the  peasantry 
with  confidence  in  them.     The  borrower  generally 



gives  a  mortgage  on  his  house  and  land,  and  the 
lands  of  whole  villages  have  sometimes  been  thus 
acquired  by  one  man,  and  at  far  less  than  their  real 

All  this  applies  to  comparatively  large  trans- 
actions ;  where  the  amounts  are  smaller,  or  the 
security  is  less,  higher  rates  than  these  are  charged, 
especially  where  the  loan  is  for  a  short  time  only. 
Thus,  sometimes  there  is  a  great  demand  for  the 
Turkish  dollar,  in  which  certain  Government  dues 
have  to  be  paid,  and  for  the  loan  for  a  few  weeks  of 
these  coins  interest  at  the  rate  of  upwards  of  100  per 
cent,  per  annum  is  by  no  means  unknown. 

People  often  borrow  to  enable  them  to  marry — 
that  is,  to  pay  the  dowry  demanded  by  the  bride's 
father  ;  or  a  man  will  borrow  to  enable  him  to 
'  buy '  an  eligible  bride  for  his  son.  This  is  well 
illustrated  by  one  of  their  proverbs,  '  He  who 
marries  on  borrowed  money,  his  children  pay  the 
interest,'  such  debts  often  remaining  like  a  mill- 
stone round  the  neck  of  the  man  and  his  family  to 
the  end  of  his  life. 

The  taxation  of  the  country  is  a  very  serious 
question  from  whichever  side  it  is  viewed.  Direct 
taxation  is  quite  a  modern  innovation,  and  is  a  result 
of  the  attempt,  due  largely  to  the  initiation  of  the 
late  Midhat  Pasha,  to  Europeanize  the  codes  and 
methods  of  the  Ottoman  Empire.  The  present 
system  has  been  gradually  introduced  within  the 
memory  of  some  still  living  in  Palestine,  and  as 
now  administered  shows  how  unsuited  European, 
or  quasi-European,  methods  may  be  to  Orientals. 


The  taxes  are  numerous,  and  press  very  heavily 
on  the  people.  There  is  the  land-tax  on  all  but 
freehold  and  Church  property  ;  the  sheep-tax,  so 
much  per  annum  on  every  sheep  and  goat ;  a  road- 
tax,  for  making  roads  in  the  province  where  it  is 
levied,  although  the  roads  are  often  delayed  for 
many  years  ;  tithes,  which  are,  legally,  a  tenth  of 
the  crops  and  an  eighth  of  the  tenth,  but  which  in 
practice  may  be  anything.  In  addition  to  these, 
help  is  frequently  asked  for  the  Sultan,  and  this 
impost,  though  in  theory  optional,  as  a  matter  of 
fact  is  compulsory.  All  the  above-mentioned  taxes 
are  levied  on  Moslems  and  Christians  alike,  but  in 
addition  to  them  Christians  have  to  pay  a  military 
tax.  As  a  badge  of  servitude  they  have  never  been 
allowed  to  bear  arms,  and  in  lieu  of  military  service 
all  males  have  to  pay  a  yearly  poll-tax.  But  the 
chief  burden  of  taxation  consists  rather  in  the 
manner  of  its  collection.  This  is  done  by  mounted 
gendarmerie,  who  come  to  a  village  without  warning 
and  stay  there  till  they  have  got  the  amount  they 
want,  living  meanwhile  at  the  expense  of  the 
Fellahin.  By  law,  whatever  is  supplied  them  or 
their  horses  ought  to  be  deducted  from  the  taxes, 
but,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  I  have  never  heard  of  its 
being  done  ;  and  these  soldiers  expect  to  be  supplied 
with  the  best  of  everything  in  the  village. 

The  taxes  are  not  assessed  in  most  cases  on  the 
individual  villagers,  but  on  the  village  as  a  whole. 
The  lands,  moreover,  which  from  time  immemorial 
have  belonged  to  certain  villages,  are  still  reckoned 
as  belonging  to  them,  even  though  much  of  them 



may  pass,  and  in  many  instances  actually  has  passed, 
into  the  hands  of  persons  belonging  to  other  places. 
A  man  may  thus  own  land  belonging  originally  to 
half  a  dozen  villages,  and  which  in  the  Government 
books  is  still  entered  as  part  of  the  property  of  those 
places  ;  consequently,  instead  of  paying  a  lump 
sum  to  the  Government  for  these  various  properties, 
he  has  to  do  it  through  the  local  representatives  in 
each  place.  These  representatives  (Ikhtiyariyeh) 
are  chosen  by  the  different  houses  or  families,  and 
it  is  to  them,  with  the  village  sheikh,  that  the 
Government  sends  orders  as  to  the  amount  of  taxes 
demanded  from  each  village,  and  they  have  to  make 
the  best  terms  they  can  for  their  people.  They 
have  to  sign  or  seal  the  formal  document  stating 
the  sums  required  in  any  year  from  their  village, 
and  without  their  signature  or  seal  the  amount 
cannot  be  legally  demanded.  Sometimes  they 
stand  out  against  what  they  consider  to  be  an 
exorbitant  demand,  but  there  are  various  ways  of 
bringing  pressure  to  bear  upon  them,  and  the  docu- 
ment is  usually  signed  without  alteration.  When 
this  is  done  the  amount  required  has  to  be  appor- 
tioned amongst  the  villagers.  These  representa- 
tives wish  to  feather  their  own  nests,  and  so  they 
add  something  for  themselves  to  the  already  heavy 
burden  of  taxation.  In  the  apportioning  also  of  the 
various  sums  to  be  paid  by  different  people  there  is 
room  for  an  immense  amount  of  favouritism  and 
unfair  dealing. 

Sometimes   the   taxes,  after  being  paid   to   the 
Ikhtiyariyeh,  are  paid  directly  to  the  Government, 


but  more  often  there  is  a  middleman,  who  is  called 
a  Multezzim.,  or  farmer  of  taxes,  who  has  bought 
from  the  Government  the  taxes  of  a  village  for  a 
year  for  a  certain  fixed  sum.  The  Multezzim 
expects,  of  course,  not  only  to  recoup  himself  what 
he  has  paid  to  the  exchequer,  but  also  to  make  a 
handsome  profit,  and  to  enable  him  to  do  so,  all  the 
power  of  the  authorities  is  at  his  disposal  should  he 
wish  to  invoke  it.  This,  again,  opens  the  door  to 
every  kind  of  exaction,  especially  where,  as  is  some- 
times done,  the  village  representatives,  instead  of 
resisting  an  unjust  demand  on  the  part  of  a  Multez- 
zim, will  accept  a  bribe  from  him  to  say  nothing, 
while  the  unhappy  villagers  are  mulcted  in  a  far 
heavier  tax  than  they  ought  legally  to  pay,  and 
have  absolutely  no  redress.  It  need  hardly  be  said 
that  these  Multezzimin  are  detested  by  the  people, 
who  are  usually  willing  to  pay  the  Government  a 
larger  sum  than  they  offer  for  the  taxes,  in  order  to 
avoid  their  exactions. 

The  characteristics  of  the  people  of  different 
villages  vary  greatly.  Thus,  the  inhabitants  of 
one  village  are  notorious  thieves,  while  the  adjoining 
village  is  well  known  as  an  industrious  and  honest 
one.  At  one  the  inhabitants  are  skilled  in  some 
trade  or  business,  while  at  the  next  they  are  lazy 
and  ignorant.  Some  villages  are  notoriously  stupid. 
A  story  is  told  of  one,  not  many  miles  from  Jeru- 
salem, that  on  a  certain  occasion  not  a  single  person 
in  it  had  any  idea  what  day  of  the  week  it  was,  and 
they  had  to  send  one  of  their  number  to  a  Christian 
village  some  miles  away  to  ascertain  !     At  another 


village,  in  a  year  of  very  short  rainfall,  only  one 
large  cistern  full  of  water  remained  to  supply  the 
wants  of  the  inhabitants.  This  they  decided  to 
divide  amongst  them,  and  proceeded  to  do  so  by 
laying  sticks  across  the  top,  a  place  being  assigned 
to  each  family  from  which  to  draw,  and  the  space 
allotted  to  the  sheikh  of  the  village  being  twice  as 
wide  as  those  for  other  people,  on  the  ground  that 
he  had  to  supply  guests  as  well  as  the  wants  of  his 
own  family  ! 

A  curious  custom  of  partnership  in  mares  is 
widely  spread.  If  a  mare  is  of  really  good  breed, 
or  even  if  only  a  good  walker  and  with  good 
qualities,  it  is  usually  too  expensive  for  one  man  to 
buy  the  whole  of  it,  and  he  will  own  half,  a  third, 
two-thirds,  etc.,  as  the  case  may  be.  The  man  who 
feeds  the  animal  has  the  use  of  it,  but  the  foals  are 
given  to  the  respective  owners  in  proportion  to  their 
shares  in  it.  Thus,  if  two  men  own  a  mare  between 
them,  they  will  have  the  foals  alternately  ;  but  if  one 
has  two-thirds  and  the  other  only  a  third,  the  former 
has,  of  course,  two  out  of  every  three  foals,  and  the 
latter  only  one,  and  so  on. 

I  once  bought  half  a  mare  from  a  man  who  pro- 
fessed to  own  the  whole,  but  I  found  after  a  while 
that  there  was  another  partner  who  had  a  fourth 
share  in  her.  Joint  ownership  in  a  steed  is  con- 
sidered to  constitute  a  special  link  between  the  two 
parties.  '  It  is,'  so  the  man  above  mentioned  ex- 
plained to  me,  '  as  if  I  had  married  your  daughter 
or  you  had  married  mine  !'  This  quasi-relationship 
(at  least,  where  a  European  is  concerned)  is  rather 


a  nuisance,  and  in  my  case  I  terminated  it  as  soon 
as  I  could  by  purchasing  the  rest  of  the  shares. 

The  Fellahin  like  to  let  their  horses'  tails  grow 
very  long,  and  in  the  case  of  white  or  gray  {blue,  as 
the  latter  are  called  in  Arabic)  horses  they  often  dye 
them  a  bright  orange  colour  with  the  leaves  of  the 
henna  tree  (Lazvsonia  inermis).  In  winter  they  tie 
them  up  in  a  knot  to  keep  them  out  of  the  mud. 
They  take  it  as  an  insult  if  anything  be  done  to 
the  tail.  I  knew  of  a  case  where  a  man  had  a 
beautiful  long- tailed  mare,  which  on  one  occasion, 
while  its  owner  was  at  a  village  on  business,  was 
put  in  a  stable  where  was  another  mare  with  a  foal. 
This  foal  during  the  night  bit  off  a  great  part  of 
the  visitor's  tail,  a  not  uncommon  trick  of  foals  in 
Palestine,  and  the  owner  of  the  foal  had  to  give  the 
other  man  a  valuable  present  to  make  up  for  the 
injury  or  slight  thus  done  to  him. 

The  native  saddles  are  much  broader  than  ours, 
being  very  thickly  padded,  and  are  very  uncomfort- 
able for  Europeans  to  ride.  The  bits  are  exceed- 
ingly powerful,  and  even  cruel  things,  but  quite 
unnecessarily  so.  The  horses'  mouths  are  no  harder 
than  those  of  Europe,  and  in  the  case  of  horses  I 
have  had  for  any  time  I  invariably  used  an  ordinary 
English  bit  with  curb,  but  always  rode  them  on 
the  snaffle,  and  found  it  sufficient,  except  when 
they  tried  to  bolt.  The  stirrups  are  great  shovel- 
shaped  plates  of  iron  or  brass,  the  corners  of  whicli 
are  used  instead  of  spurs.  The  Arabs  ride  with 
very  short  stirrups,  retaining  their  seats  by  their 
splendid  balance  rather  than  by  the  grip  of  the 


knees.  They  guide  their  horses,  too,  by  the  pressure 
of  the  rein  on  the  neck  of  the  steed,  and  not  by  the 
bit.  In  the  hot  weather,  especially  on  long  journeys, 
a  cloth  is  usually  tied  under  the  horse's  body  over 
the  girths  in  order  to  keep  off  the  flies,  which  are 
a  terrible  torment  at  times  to  both  horse  and  rider. 
For  the  same  purpose  ornamental  trappings  of  wool 
are  hung  over  the  horse's  neck,  falling  over  its  chest, 
the  numerous  tassels  flapping  about  as  the  animal 
goes  along  helping  to  hinder  the  flies  from  alighting 
on  its  body. 

The  Fellahin  are  very  shrewd  in  giving  nick- 
names to  people,  seizing  on  some  peculiarity, 
characteristic,  or  feature.  Thus  I  remember  a 
traveller  who  had  long  flowing  whiskers  who,  in 
accordance  with  a  well-known  Arabic  idiom,  was 
promptly  dubbed  'the  Father  of  Two  Beards.' 

The  reckoning  of  time  is  always  very  puzzling  to 
a  new-comer  to  Palestine,  there  being  practically 
four  different  methods.  The  Jews  have  their 
ancient  reckoning,  the  ecclesiastical  year  beginning 
at  the  Passover,  in  the  spring,  and  the  civil  year  in 
the  autumn.  The  Mohammedan  year  is  a  lunar, 
and  not,  as  ours,  a  solar  year.  It  is,  therefore, 
twelve  or  thirteen  days  shorter  than  ours,  and  their 
Moslem  New  Year's  Day  travels  backward,  so  to 
speak,  that  number  of  days  every  year.  The 
Christians,  on  the  other  hand,  follow  the  solar 
reckoning,  but  here  again  there  are  two  different 
ways  of  calculating  the  time.  The  Oriental  Churches 
follow  the  Eastern  reckoning,  better  known  in 
England  as  the    Old  Style,  and   that  which   still 


obtains  in  Russia.  The  Roman  Catholics  and 
Protestant  bodies  use  the  Western  reckoning  in 
common  with  the  greater  part  of  the  civilized 
world.  In  all  legal  documents  it  has  to  be  clearly 
specified  which  reckoning  is  intended.  The  error 
in  calculation  which  has  produced  the  difference 
in  the  Eastern  and  Western  times  increases  this 
difference  by  a  day  each  century.  Thus,  in  1900 
the  difference  between  the  two  amounted  to  twelve 
days,  and  in  1901  to  thirteen.  This  fact,  together 
with  the  different  manner  of  calculating  Easter, 
makes  a  considerable  difference  each  year  in  the 
interval  between  the  days  on  which  the  Eastern 
and  Western  Churches  observe  the  festival.  Thus, 
very  occasionally  the  two  coincide,  but  usually 
there  is  an  interval  of  one  or  more  weeks  between 
them,  and  even  sometimes  it  amounts  to  as  much 
as  five  weeks. 

The  day  in  the  East  is  still  considered  to  begin 
at  sunset,  and  in  Arabic  the  term  '  to-night '  means 
what  we  should  call  'last  night.'  Thus,  two 
friends  meeting  on  a  journey  will  sometimes  ask 
each  other,  '  Where  did  you  stay  to-night  ?'  an 
expression  which  sounds  strange  to  us,  but  is  by 
their  reckoning  the  correct  one. 

A  common  way  of  reckoning  for  the  repayment 
of  loans  among  the  Fellahin  is  from  harvest  to 
harvest,  or,  as  they  phrase  it,  '  from  threshing-floor 
to  threshing-floor.'  I  once  heard  of  a  peasant  who 
borrowed  a  sum  of  money  from  another,  which 
was  to  be  repaid  in  a  year.  They  ■  wrote  a  paper,' 
as  the  saying  is,  about  it.     Soon  after  a  townsman, 


a  friend  of  the  creditor,  heard  of  it,  and,  meeting 
the  man  one  day,  inquired  if  he  had  taken  the 
precaution  of  stating  the  date  at  which  the  loan 
was  to  be  repaid,  and  was  assured  it  was  so.  On 
asking  to  see  the  document,  he  found  that 
Mohammed  Abdullah  promised  to  pay  Hassan 
Ahmed  such-and-such  a  sum  when  next  the  Jak us 
(a  kind  of  cucumber)  were  ripe  ! 

Another  thing  which  is  peculiarly  tiying  and 
puzzling  to  a  foreigner  at  first,  and  which,  even 
after  many  years'  residence  and  a  wide  experience, 
adds  enormously  to  the  difficulties  of  book-keeping, 
is  the  complexity  of  the  coinage.  As  already 
mentioned,  there  is  but  little  actual  cash  in  the 
country.  In  the  towns  this  is  to  some  extent 
obviated  by  the  large  amount  of  foreign  money 
in  circulation,  especially  the  twenty-franc  pieces 
of  France,  Italy,  Austria,  Greece,  etc.,  as  well  as 
some  of  the  silver  currency  of  those  countries  ;  but 
in  the  villages  the  only  foreign  money  which  will 
be  accepted  is  the  gold  coinage,  the  small  change 
being  Turkish  only.  It  is  well  known  that  the 
piastre  is  the  unit  by  which  the  values  of  all  coins 
are  calculated  throughout  the  Ottoman  Empire ; 
but,  strange  as  it  may  seem,  there  is  now  no  such 
coin  as  a  piastre  in  existence  in  Syria,  although  the 
coins  are  all  either  multiples  or  fractions  of  the 
piastre.  The  consequence  of  this  is  that  this 
imaginary  coin  has  different  values  in  different  parts 
of  the  country ;  thus,  in  Jerusalem  the  Turkish 
dollar,  the  Mejidie — so  called  from  having  been  first 
coined    by   a  former   Sultan    called  Abd-ul-Majid 

SEALS  299 

(Slave  of  the  Glorious  One ) — is  worth  twenty- 
three  piastres,  at  Jaffa  it  is  worth  twenty-five, 
but  at  Gaza  it  is  equal  to  forty-six.  Nor  is  this 
all :  the  merchant  has  one  piastre,  the  Government 
another.  In  the  shop,  the  bazaar,  and  in  all  the 
commercial  transactions  of  daily  life,  prices  are 
stated  in  the  former,  which  is  known  as  Shuruk ; 
while  taxes,  stamps,  telegrams,  Government  fees, 
etc.,  are  calculated  in  the  latter,  known  as  Sagh. 
The  hindrance  which  all  this  complicated  system 
is  to  commerce  is  better  imagined  than  described. 

In  witnessing  legal  documents,  wills,  contracts, 
deeds  of  sale,  and  in  signing  letters,  a  man's 
signature  has  no  value  in  the  East :  he  must  affix 
his  seal  to  them.  This  no  doubt  arose  from  the  fact 
that  very  few  people  could  write,  and  that,  as 
to-day,  most  letters  were  written  by  a  scribe  or 
professional  letter -writer,  consequently  the  fact 
of  a  man's  name  being  appended  to  a  document 
was  no  proof  that  he  was  bound  by  its  contents ; 
so  seals  were  invented,  each  person  having  his 
own  seal,  made  of  brass  or  silver,  with  his  name 
engraved  on  it,  and  this  he  carried  about  with  him. 
To  give  one's  seal  to  another  man  to  use  on  one's 
behalf  would  imply  unbounded  confidence  in  him, 
and  would  be  like  giving  a  signed  blank  cheque 
to  another  in  England.  I  have,  however,  occa- 
sionally known  this  done  when  some  important 
document  had  to  be  witnessed  and  one  of  the 
signatories  could  not  be  present ;  the  absentee 
sent  his  seal  by  someone  else  to  be  affixed  to  the 
deed.     The  seal  is  not  used,  as  in  England,  with 


wax,  but  ink.  A  little  of  the  thick  native  ink 
is  spread  over  the  seal  with  the  tip  of  the  little 
finger,  and  then  allowed  to  become  nearly  dry ; 
the  paper  at  the  spot  where  it  has  to  be  affixed 
is  next  damped,  and  the  seal  is  pressed  on  it,  and 
leaves  a  black  disc  with  the  inscription  in  white  in 
the  centre. 

The  musical  instruments  of  the  Fellahin  are  few 
and  simple.  The  commonest  is  the  pipe.  This 
consists  usually  of  two  reeds,  about  the  thickness 
of  a  finger,  fastened  side  by  side,  with  six  holes  in 
each.  In  the  top  of  these  reeds  two  smaller  ones 
are  inserted  loosely,  forming  the  mouth-pieces. 
These  are  formed  as  follows :  A  thin  reed  is  taken, 
and  a  piece  about  3j>  inches  long  is  cut  off  at  a 
joint,  the  upper  end  being  closed  by  the  joint ;  the 
lower  and  open  end  is  trimmed  to  fit  closely  in  the 
upper  end  of  one  of  the  large  ones  ;  then  a  notch  is 
cut  about  two-thirds  of  the  length  of  the  mouth- 
piece from  the  top,  just  through  the  wall  of  the 
reed,  and  a  cut  made  up  to  the  joint,  thus  forming 
a  tongue  or  vibrator,  which  remains  attached  at  its 
upper  end.  The  second  mouth-piece  is  exactly  like 
the  first,  and  both  are  attached  to  the  rest  of  the 
pipe  by  strings  that  they  may  not  be  lost,  as  they 
fit  but  loosely  into  the  latter.  To  play  the  instru- 
ment the  two  mouth-pieces  are  put  in  the  reeds, 
and  then  inserted  in  the  mouth,  up  to  the  top  of 
the  large  reeds.  Both  are  of  the  same  pitch  and 
produce  the  same  notes,  the  object  of  the  second 
pipe  being  merely  to  increase  the  volume  of  sound. 
The  different  notes  are  produced  by  playing  the 


three  fingers  of  each  hand  across  the  two  rows  of 
holes.  Sometimes  the  pipe  has  the  second  reed 
much  larger  than  the  first,  and  without  holes,  the 
effect  being  like  that  of  the  drone  of  the  Highland 
bagpipes.  Occasionally  other  substances  than 
reeds  are  used.  I  once  had  a  pipe  which  was  made 
of  the  leg-bones  of  a  vulture.  Another  kind  of 
pipe  is  made  of  a  single  large  reed,  in  appearance 
rather  like  a  flute,  but  blown  from  the  upper  end 
instead  of  from  the  side. 

Another  musical  instrument  is  a  kind  of  violin. 
This  consists  of  a  rectangular  box  made  of  a  wooden 
framework  over  which  a  skin  is  tightly  sewn.  From 
the  centre  of  one  of  the  short  sides  an  iron  pin  pro- 
jects, and  from  the  opposite  one  a  horn  or  piece 
of  rounded  wood  about  20  inches  long.  A  single 
string  of  several  strands  of  horsehair  is  fastened  to 
this  iron  pin,  and,  passing  over  a  little  wooden 
bridge  near  to  the  lower  end  of  the  box,  is  secured 
to  a  peg  in  the  horn,  the  peg  being  used  to  tighten 
up  the  string,  as  in  our  violins.  The  bow  is  formed 
of  a  stout  rough  twig,  with  a  few  horsehairs 
stretched  tightly  across.  The  player  sits  to  play, 
holding  the  instrument  before  him,  resting  it  on  the 
ground  by  the  pin  at  the  lower  end. 

Small  hand-drums  made  of  pottery,  in  shape  like 
the  neck  and  upper  part  of  a  large  jar,  are  much 
used  on  festival  occasions  ;  animal  membrane  is  tied 
tightly  over  the  larger  end,  the  smaller  one  being 
left  open.  It  is  held  under  the  arm,  being  beaten 
with  the  palm  of  the  hand. 



No  work  on  the  Fellahin  could  be  at  all  complete 
which  did  not  give  some  account  of  their  proverbs. 
Throughout  the  East  the  proverb  or  parable  (in 
colloquial  Arabic  the  two  are  synonymous)  plays  a 
very  large  part  in  conversation,  teaching,  and  con- 
troversy. One  reason  of  this  is  that  the  Oriental 
mind,  as  compared  with  the  Western,  is  not  a 
logical  one.  Close-reasoned  argument  appeals  but 
little,  even  to  educated  men.  With  all  classes,  but 
especially  with  the  uneducated,  an  apt  illustration 
or  an  appropriate  proverb  will  be  infinitely  more 
convincing  than  the  best  reasoned  and  most  logical 

Our  blessed  Lord's  frequent  use  of  parables  and 
metaphor  is  in  the  fullest  accord  with  the  mental 
processes  and  characteristics  of  the  Gentile  in- 
habitants of  Palestine  to-day,  as  it  was  with  those 
of  their  Jewish  predecessors  of  His  own  time. 
Very  instructive,  too,  is  the  difference  in  this 
respect  between  the  writings  of  him  who,  an 
Oriental   by   birth,   was    by    education    largely   a 

Western,  the   Apostle   St.  Paul.     In  his  Epistle 



to  the  Romans,  a  Western  race,  we  have  closely- 
reasoned  argument  of  the  very  highest  order ;  but 
in  that  to  the  Galatians,  a  race  Oriental  in  its 
characteristics  (whatever  its  origin  may  have  been), 
we  find  little  or  no  argument,  but  much  illustration. 

If  this  holds  good  of  the  East  generally,  it  does 
so  very  especially  of  the  Arabic-speaking  races,  and 
the  Fellahin  of  Palestine  are  no  exception.  Their 
language  is  one  which  lends  itself  peculiarly  well 
to  terse  epigrammatic  expression.  The  wide  area 
over  which  it  is  spoken,  and  the  great  length  of 
time  during  which  it  has  been  in  use,  have  also 
tended  to  enrich  it  in  this  way.  From  a  literary 
point  of  view  the  Arabs  distinguish  between  the 
proverb  (Metkal)  and  the  aphorism  (Kddthah),  but 
in  practice  all  are  included  in  the  former  term. 

The  number  of  Arabic  proverbs  is  enormous,  and 
large  volumes  of  them  have  been  published.  The 
Fellahin  have  many  in  current  use,  and  no  incon- 
siderable portion  of  these  are  peculiar  to  them,  not 
being  found  in  any  known  collection.  Of  those 
current  among  the  peasantry  I  have  collected  some 
nine  hundred.  No  doubt  a  good  many  of  these  are 
included  in  one  or  other  of  the  various  collections, 
but  a  considerable  portion  are  not  found  in  print. 
It  is  of  the  greatest  value  to  the  missionary,  and, 
indeed,  to  all  who  wish  to  be  able  to  enter  fully 
into  the  conversation  of  the  people,  to  have  a  good 
knowledge  of  the  more  generally  used  proverbs  and 
sayings,  not  only  as  illustrating  the  mode  of  thought 
of  the  people,  but  also  as  giving  the  European  an 
effective  means  of  conveying  teaching  in  a  form 


readily  assimilated  by  the  Oriental.  '  We  have  a 
proverb '  or  '  like  the  proverb '  is  a  frequent  clincher 
to  a  statement  or  proof. 

It  goes  without  saying  that,  as  in  other  languages, 
many  a  proverb  is  untranslatable,  its  whole  point 
turning  on  a  play  on  words,  an  alliteration,  or  an 
onomatopoetic  term,  and  the  like. 

Archbishop  Trench,  in  his  lectures  on  Proverbs, 
speaking  of  the  collection  of  modern  Arabic  saws 
gathered  in  Egypt  by  the  traveller  Burckhardt, 
says  that  they  reveal  '  generally  the  whole  character 
of  life,  alike  the  outward  and  inward,  as  poor,  mean, 
sordid,  and  ignoble,  with  only  a  few  faintest  glimpses 
of  that  romance  which  one  usually  attaches  to  the 
East.'  Such  words,  however  true  they  may  be  of 
the  particular  collection  to  which  they  are  applied, 
are  certainly  in  no  way  applicable  to  those  under 
review  now.  The  really  bad  proverbs  are,  as  far  as 
my  experience  goes,  very  few ;  here  and  there  one 
comes  across  a  coarse  one ;  some  there  are  which 
one  must  class  as  cynical ;  while  yet  others  with 
shrewd,  but  not  unkindly,  hand  reveal  the  real 
motives  of  a  fallen  nature,  shared  alike  by  Easterns 
and  Westerns  ;  many  show  a  kindly  wit,  and  some 
are  really  beautiful. 

Of  course,  not  a  few  of  these  proverbs  express, 
with  local  colouring,  ideas  which  are  found  in  all 
ages  and  wisdom  common  to  all  nations.  Among 
these  the  following  will  readily  suggest  parallels  in 
our  own  and  other  languages  :  '  If  speech  be  silver, 
silence  is  gold.'  '  Rippling  water  will  not  drown 
anyone.'     '  One  bitten  (by  a  snake)  fears  a  rope.' 


1  Stretch  your  legs  according  to  your  bed,'  which 
expresses  the  same  idea  as  our  proverb,  '  Cut  your 
coat  according  to  your  cloth.'  '  Dine  and  rest,  sup 
and  walk,'  of  which  there  is  a  longer  version,  '  Dine 
and  rest,  though  but  for  two  minutes ;  sup  and 
walk,  though  but  two  steps.'  '  Don't  say  "  beans  " 
till  they  are  in  your  bag '  is  the  equivalent  of 
'Don't  count  your  chickens  before  they  are 
hatched,'  the  circumstance  that  the  words  in  Arabic 
for  '  bag '  and  '  beans  '  rhyme  with  each  other  being 
the  reason  for  the  form  of  this  proverb.  '  The  eye  sees 
not,  the  heart  grieves  not.'  '  Absent  from  the  eye, 
absent  from  the  mind.'  '  Borrowed  clothes  don't 
last.'  '  When  cooks  increase  the  food  is  burnt.'  'Live 
in  a  place  and  eat  of  its  onions  '  (a  very  favourite 
vegetable  with  the  Fellahin).  These,  taken  almost 
at  random,  will  illustrate  the  similarity  of  thought 
and  expression  which  produced  the  proverbs  in  our 
own  language  and  Arabic. 

1  The  head  has  much  headache  '  is  a  good  instance 
of  a  saying  which  depends  for  its  point  on  a  two- 
fold meaning  of  a  word,  '  head '  signifying  also 
■  chief '  or  '  sovereign,'  the  proverb  being  thus 
the  equivalent  of  our  '  Uneasy  lies  the  head  that 
wears  a  crown.' 

Among  a  race  so  religiously-minded  as  the 
Syrians,  this  feature  is  sure  to  be  shown  in  their 
proverbial  sayings.  The  following  specimens  will 
illustrate  this  :  '  Men  depend  on  men  and  all  on 
God.'  '  There  are  no  two  together  but  God  makes 
a  third.'  '  An  hour's  blessing  is  worth  a  year's 
labour.'     A  belief  in  God's  care  for  the  humblest 



even  of  His  creatures  declares  itself  in  '  God  breaks 
the  camel  to  give  the  jackal  a  supper.'  That  the 
fact  of  man's  inherent  sinfulness  has  been  grasped 
we  see  in  the  following :  *  Two  only  sin  not,  the 
dead  and  the  unborn.' 

Those  who  have  travelled  in  the  East,  and  have 
suddenly  come  on  the  hideous  spectacle  of  the 
bloated  carcass  of  a  horse  or  camel  lying  by  the 
wayside,  with  vultures,  ravens,  and  the.  half-wild 
dogs  tearing  at  it,  will  appreciate  the  insight  of 
'  The  world  is  a  carcass,  and  they  that  seek  it  are 
dogs.'  In  contrast  to  this  is  a  very  beautiful  one 
on  humility :  '  Low-lying  land  drinks  its  own  water 
and  that  of  other  places.'  One  on  patience  runs: 
'  Patience  opens  the  door  of  rest.'  A  very  fine  one 
is,  '  Every  soul  is  monarch  in  its  own  body.' 
Covetousness  is  rebuked  by  '  Nothing  will  fill  (i.e., 
satisfy)  the  eye  of  man  but  a  handful  of  earth  (i.e., 
the  grave)  ';  while  the  uncertainty  of  all  human 
things  is  depicted  by  '  The  world  is  a  wheel,  one 
hour  for  you,  the  next  against  you.'  The  result  of 
sin  is  forcibly  shown  by,  '  The  devil's  flour  turns 
out  all  bran.' 

Full  of  wisdom  are  the  two  following :  '  The 
rose  left  a  thorn  behind  it,  and  the  thorn  a  rose.' 
*  A  fool  threw  a  stone  into  a  well ;  a  hundred  wise 
men  could  not  get  it  out.'  Some  of  the  proverbs 
are  keenly  sarcastic  ;  one  such  which  is  particularly 
applicable  in  the  East,  where  a  sort  of  clan  life  is  in 
vogue,  is,  *  Your  relations  are  your  scorpions,'  the 
point  of  the  comparison  lying  in  the  similarity  of 
the  words  for  scorpions  and  relatives,  which  differ 


only  in  the  initial  letters.  The  impossible  is  ex- 
pressed by, '  One  hand  can't  hold  two  water-melons,' 
a  fact  self-evident  to  anyone  who  has  seen  those  of 
Palestine.  An  unreasonable  man  who  seeks  the 
unattainable  is  described  as  'wanting  a  wooden 
cat  which  will  mew  and  not  eat.'  A  stupid  woman 
who  does  not  see  that  her  duty  is  at  home  is 
depicted  by  the  following  :  '  She  left  her  husband 
sorrowing,  and  went  to  comfort  people  at  another 

1  Between  Bana  and  Hana  our  beard  disappeared  ' 
is  suggested  by  the  well-known  story  of  the  man 
who  had  two  wives,  one  old,  the  other  young  ;  the 
former  pulled  all  the  black  hairs  out  of  his  beard, 
the  other  all  the  gray  ones,  and  thus  between  them 
he  was  left  beardless,  a  great  misfortune  to  an 
Oriental.  Another  proverb  on  the  beard  is,  '  Hair 
on  hair  makes  a  beard,'  being  the  equivalent  of  the 
Scotch  one,  '  Mony  a  little  makes  a  mickle.' 

The  hospitality  of  the  Fellahin  comes  out  in 
their  proverbs  ;  a  good  instance  is,  '  A  small  house 
will  hold  a  hundred  friends  ' — i.e.,  if  they  be  really 
friends ;  or,  '  Trade  by  the  dram,  generosity  by 
the  hundredweight.'  '  Who  sows  kindness  reaps 
gratitude '  is  unfortunately  not  always  true,  and  is 
counterbalanced  by  another,  used  of  an  ungrateful 
person,  which  runs :  '  Like  the  mule,  you  give  it  its 
fodder,  it  gives  you  a  kick.'  The  fact  that  a  small 
kindness  often  results  in  a  greater  is  graphically 
shown  by,  '  A  gift  goes  on  a  donkey  and  returns  on 
a  camel.'  But  it  is  only  right  to  add  that  this 
proverb  has  another  side   to  it,  and  that  it   is  a 



common  practice  to  give  a  small  present  with  the 
view  of  bringing  back  a  more  valuable  one.  Another 
referring  to  hospitality  is,  '  Feed  the  mouth,  and 
the  eye  will  be  ashamed ' — that  is,  the  person  will 
be  ashamed  to  do  you  harm. 

Eastern  justice  (or  what  passes  as  such)  is  the 
subject  of  several  proverbs.  Its  inconsequence  is 
satirized  in  the  following :  '  If  the  tailor  commits  a 
crime,  we  hang  the  saddler.'  Someone  must  be 
punished  to  save  appearances,  and  the  one  who 
comes  handiest  suffers,  whether  he  be  guilty  or  not. 
'  He  who  goes  to  the  Kadi  alone  will  come  back 
satisfied  '  is  too  obvious  to  require  explanation,  and 
the  same  applies  to  '  Delay  weakens  justice.'  'The 
sheikh's  child  is  a  sheikh,'  '  The  prince's  dog  is  a 
prince,'  '  The  respect  for  the  slave  is  from  the 
respect  for  his  master,'  are  all  self-evident. 

In  the  East  saddle-bags  are  frequently  carried  on 
horseback,  being  fastened  to  the  back  of  the  saddle 
behind  the  rider.  In  them  are  placed  the  impedi- 
menta for  the  journey,  or  the  things  purchased  in 
the  town.  This  has  given  rise  to  a  proverb  on 
ingratitude,  which  is  as  follows  :  '  We  let  him  ride 
behind  us,  and  he  put  his  hand  into  the  saddle- 
bags ' :  the  one  who  has  been  given  a  lift  repays 
the  kindness  by  using  the  opportunity  to  steal  from 
his  benefactor.  Another,  suggested  by  the  long 
journeys  over  the  rough  tracks  called  in  the  Orient, 
by  courtesy,  roads,  is,  'A  long  road  brings  out 

Trade,  as  might  be  supposed,  gives  rise  to  a  good 
many.     '  Partnership  is  parting '  (an  instance  of  the 


very  few  cases  where  an  alliteration,  or  play  on 
words,  can  be  translated)  shows  the  bad  side  of 
business  matters.  The  meaning  is  that  they  who 
formerly  were  friends,  when  they  go  into  business 
together,  soon  cease  to  be  such,  a  sad  comment 
on  the  sharp  practices  common  in  those  countries, 
though  by  no  means  confined  to  them.  Such 
practices  are  illustrated  by  '  Selling  is  loss,  buying 
is  trickery,'  and  rebuked  by  '  Greed  is  injury,  not 
gain.'  '  One  can't  be  both  merchant  and  astro- 
nomer '  is  a  truism.  Another  declares  that  *  You 
may  overcome  all  enmity  but  that  of  your  rival  in 
trade.'  '  Don't  praise  the  market  till  its  close  '  is 
sound  advice,  as  is  '  Don't  start  a  khan  with  one 

Agriculture  is  another  fruitful  theme.  The 
following  will  show  what  a  variety  there  is  on 
this  subject.  *  The  crooked  furrow  is  from  the 
old  ox.'  *  The  diseased  sheep  infects  the  whole 
flock.'  *  What  is  fallow  is  fallow,  what  is  ploughed 
is  ploughed ' — that  is,  the  matter  is  closed  and  the 
opportunity  gone.  '  The  reckoning  of  the  thresh- 
ing-floor does  not  tally  with  that  of  the  field  ' — used 
of  disappointed  hopes.  '  The  master's  eye  is  a 
second  spring.'  The  spring  is  the  time  when  the 
grass  grows  abundantly  and  animals  are  turned 
out  to  graze  and  get  into  condition,  so  the  word 
has  come  to  be  used  colloquially  as  meaning 
abundant  pasture ;  this  will  make  clear  the  idea 
of  the  proverb.  '  March  milk  is  forbidden  to 
unbelievers.'  This  saying  betrays  its  Mohammedan 
origin ;    the   milk   is   at   its   best   in  March,  and, 


therefore,  with  the  usual  Moslem  intolerance,  is 
to  be  denied  to  those  of  other  creeds,  who  are  all 
contemptuously  classed  together  as  unbelievers. 
'  When  the  cow  falls  there  are  many  to  flay  her,' 
•  Like  a  camel  ploughing,  he  treads  down  as  fast 
as  he  breaks  up,'  'As  you  sow,  thus  you  shall 
reap.'  '  There  is  dew  and  simoon  when  the  olive 
blossoms  set,'  need  no  explanation. 

Of  what  may  be  called  moral  proverbs  there  are 
many ;  the  following  is  a  fine  one :  '  The  patient 
man  conquered,  the  impatient  became  an  un- 
believer.' The  adulation  of  the  rich  is  ridiculed 
in,  '  If  a  rich  man  eat  a  snake,  "  How  wise !"  say 
they  ;  if  a  poor  man,  "  Oh,  he  is  poor !"  The  two 
following  enforce  the  truth  that  circumstances  will 
not  change  a  man's  nature :  '  The  dog  is  a  dog 
though  it  wear  a  gold  chain,  and  the  Hon  a  lion 
though  brought  up  among  dogs,'  and  '  The  child 
is  a  child  though  kadi  of  the  town.'  Idleness 
meets  a  sharp  rebuke  in  'A  hundred  lazy  men 
won't  build  a  mosque '  and  '  The  idle  man's  head 
is  the  Devil's  home,'  or  'storehouse,'  as  another 
version  has  it. 

The  proverb,  «  Much  pulling  (of  the  rope)  cuts 
the  well's  mouth,'  is  said  to  have  originated  in  the 
following  story :  A  boy,  once  upon  a  time,  found 
the  study  of  Arabic  grammar  so  difficult  that  he 
despaired  of  ever  learning  it,  and  finally  ran  away 
from  school.  After  wandering  about  a  long  time, 
tired  and  thirsty,  he  sat  down  by  a  well  where 
Arab  women  were  drawing  water,  and  noticed 
how,  in  the  course  of  years,  the  soft  ropes  had  worn 


deep  grooves  in  the  hard  stone  coping  of  the  well. 
'  My  comprehension,'  thought  he,  '  is  not  so  dense 
as  that  stone,  and  grammar  can  surely,  in  time, 
make  more  impression  on  it  than  these  ropes  have 
made  on  the  coping,  so  I  will  try  again.'  Accord- 
ingly he  went  back  to  school,  and  (so  the  story  runs) 
ultimately  became  a  famous  Arab  grammarian. 

Speaking  of  grammarians,  there  is  a  very  curious 
proverb  which  runs  as  follows  :  '  I  seek  the  protec- 
tion of  God  from  a  Moslem  who  prays,  a  Christian 
who  turns  grammarian,  and  a  Jew  who  has  grown 
rich ; '  the  reason  of  the  saying  is  apparently  that 
in  each  case  the  man  has  become  intolerably  proud 
and  conceited.  The  first  part  of  the  proverb  throws 
a  lurid  light  on  Moslem  religiousness,  and  well 
illustrates  a  fact,  with  which  anyone  who  has 
lived  much  in  the  East  is  only  too  familiar,  viz., 
that  a  Mohammedan  who  has  the  highest  reputa- 
tion for  sanctity  may  be  one  of  the  vilest  of 
mankind,  and  that  frequently  the  more  outwardly 
devout  he  is,  the  less  will  his  every-day  life  bear 

The  average  Oriental  feels  responsibility  but  little, 
especially  in  regard  to  other  people's  property,  a 
characteristic  well  brought  out  in  the  following: 
1  Like  him  who  lost  his  aunt's  donkey,  if  he 
find  it  he  sings,  and  if  he  doesn't  find  it  he  sings.' 
Poverty  and  riches  supply  many  sayings,  such  as 
the  following  :  ■  The  penniless  is  the  king's  debtor.' 
*  The  pauper  is  the  king's  enemy.'  '  Wealth  which 
comes  in  at  the  door  unjustly  goes  out  at  the 
windows.'    '  The  marriage  of  paupers  only  increases 


beggars.'  Speaking  of  beggars  suggests  rather  an 
amusing  proverb,  used  of  a  pupil  who  has  eclipsed 
his  teacher :  '  We  taught  him  to  beg,  and  he  has 
anticipated  us  at  the  doors.' 

In  the  East,  as  everywhere  else  in  the  world,  the 
tongue  is  a  common  cause  of  discord  and  disagree- 
ment, while  the  outdoor  life,  and  close  proximity 
of  the  houses  in  the  towns  and  villages,  furnishes 
unlimited  facilities  for  gossip,  with  consequent 
quarrels  and  mischief.  '  Sit  between  two  funerals 
rather  than  between  two  washerwomen,'  says  one. 
The  point  of  this  is  that  in  the  spring  and  autumn 
a  number  of  peasant  women,  after  heavy  rain,  will 
go  out  together  into  the  fields  or  valleys,  where 
pools  of  water  from  the  storm  are  to  be  found, 
and  work  off  their  arrears  of  laundry  work.  On 
such  occasions,  as  may  be  well  imagined,  all  the 
scandal  of  the  neighbourhood  will  be  discussed. 
Another  proverb  runs,  '  The  gossip  of  two  women 
will  destroy  two  houses,'  and  another,  'An  evil 
tongue,  like  a  shoemaker's  knife,  cuts  only  filth.' 
The  special  force  of  this  last  saying  lies  in  the 
double  meaning  of  the  word  '  cuts,'  which  signifies 
both  'to  cut'  and  'to  utter  words.'  The  trade  of 
a  shoemaker  has  always  been  rather  looked  down 
upon  in  the  East,  and  regarded  as  an  unclean  one. 
For  this  reason,  it  is  said,  the  evidence  of  a  shoe- 
maker was  at  one  time  not  accepted  in  a  court 
of  law.* 

*  A  different  explanation  of  this  was  once  given  me  by  an 
educated  Syrian,  viz.,  that  it  was  because  shoemakers  formerly 
were  chiefly  Christians.  But  it  is,  I  think,  more  probable 
that  this  fact  arose  from  the  trade  being  considered  unclean, 


There  is  much  practical  wisdom  in  the  following : 
'A  slight  concession  to  your  enemy,  and  he  will 
grant  you  all  you  want ' ;  but  the  next  proverb 
arose  from  a  much  sadder  experience  of  life :  '  An 
enemy  will  not  go  but  at  the  cost  of  a  friend.' 
Self-sacrifice  is  described  as  '  Like  a  candle  which 
lights  others  but  consumes  itself,'  to  which  may 
be  added,  '  He  who  hurts  not  himself  does  not 
benefit  his  friend.'  The  desirability  of  having  an 
opinion  of  your  own  is  enforced  in  '  Consult  him 
who  is  older  than  yourself  and  him  who  is  younger, 
and  come  back  to  your  own  opinion.' 

Very  characteristic  is  this  proverb :  '  I  speak  to 
you,  O  daughter-in-law,  that  you  may  hear,  O 
neighbour.'  A  precocious  child  is  described  in 
■  The  clever  chicken  crows  in  the  egg.'  One  of  the 
most  frequently  quoted  proverbs  is,  '  Haste  is  from 
the  devil '  (and  one  very  widely  acted  on !).  The 
ape  is  the  Oriental  ideal  of  ugliness,  as  the  gazelle 
is  the  embodiment  of  beauty ;  hence  the  saying, 
*  The  ape  is,  in  his  mother's  eye,  a  gazelle.' 

A  few  more  miscellaneous  proverbs  are :  '  The 
dog  will  bark  at  the  king.'  '  The  dead  is  the 
best  of  his  family.'  '  The  cat's  away  ;  look  sharp, 
mouse  !'  ■  Search  your  house  ten  times  before  you 
suspect  your  neighbour.'  This  last,  if  acted  on, 
would  often  save  much  trouble. 

and  that  Christians,  who  were  kept  constantly  reminded  of 
the  inferiority  of  their  position,  were  compelled  to  confine 
themselves  to  what  were  held  to  be  degrading  occupations. 
Especially  would  this  be  likely  to  be  the  case  where  the  trade 
in  question  carried  any  civil  disability  with  it. 


Loquaciousness  is  not  considered  a  virtue  with 
Easterns,  hence  the  following :  '  Much  talk  lowers 
even  the  estimable.'  Wine-shops  are  considered 
by  the  abstemious  Orientals  as  decidedly  disreput- 
able ;  this  fact  gives  rise  to  the  next  saying,  used 
to  show  how  calumny  makes  a  crime  out  of 
nothing :  '  He  built  a  wine-shop  out  of  a  raisin.' 

The  three  following  proverbs,  which  show  much 
insight  and  knowledge,  may  fittingly  close  this 
sketch  of  the  wit  and  wisdom  of  the  Fellahin: 
'An  hour's  pain  rather  than  pain  every  hour.' 
1  Outside  marble,  inside  ashes.'  '  Who  has  made 
you  weep  has  instructed  you,  who  has  made  you 
laugh  has  ridiculed  you.' 


'Alim,  plural  'Uletna:  literally,  a  'learned  person/  specially  one  who 

has  studied  at  the  Mohammedan  University  of  El  Azhar,  in  Cairo. 

N.B. — Among  the  Druzes  the  'Ulema  are  the  Initiated — i.e.,  those 

who  know  the  inner  secrets  of  their  religion. 
Belku  :  '  uninhabited '  or  '  uncultivated.'     A  tract  of  very  sparsely  in- 
habited country  south  of  Es  Salt,  east  of  the  Jordan. 
Fellah,  plural  Fellahia :  feminine,  Felldhah,  plural  Fellahut :  literally, 

a  ploughman  ;  the  peasantry  of  Palestine. 
Ghor :  a  ' hollow '  or  'depression.'     The  name  given  by  the  Arabs  to 

the  valley  of  the  Jordan  and  Dead  Sea. 
Hantfites:  one  of  the  four  recognised  divisions  of  the  Sunnis  or  orthodox 

Jebel:    a  hill  or  mountain.     Jebel  el   Kuds,  the  hill-country  round 

Jerusalem.   Jebel  Ajlun,  the  modern  name  for  the  Land  of  Gilead, 

a  very  hilly  district. 
Khattb,  plural  Khutabuh :  a  Mohammedan  teacher  or  priest. 
Koran:  literally,  'reading';  the  Moslem  sacred  book. 
Neby :  a  prophet  (specially  Jewish)  or  his  supposed  tomb. 
Nusrdnch,     plural    Xumrah  ;    the     Moslem     term     for     Christians ; 

Sheikh  :  literally,  an  '  old  man/  the  chief  of  a  village  or  tribe. 
Wely,  plural  Ouliah:  a  Moslem  saint  or  his  reputed  tomb. 




CHAP.    VER. 

xix.  28  - 

xxiii.  17  - 

xxix.  1-10 

xxxi.  39  - 

xxxi.  40  - 
xxxiii.  13,  14 
xxxvii.  12-17 


xxvii.  20  - 
xxx.  24  - 


iii.  9     - 
xxvi.  26  - 


vi.  5     - 

xvii.  8     - 

xxii.  24  - 

xxxvi.  1-12 


xi.  14  - 

xxii.  8     - 

xxii.  10  - 
xxiv.  6  - 
xxiv.  20  - 

xxv.  4     - 


xvii.  15,  18 


iii.  20  - 

iii.  23  - 

v.  30  - 

xvii.  10  - 

xx.  47  - 











CHAP.     VER. 


ii.  7,  15-17 

-    207 

iii.  15  - 

-     144 

1  Samuel. 

i.  24  - 

-      96 

xiii.  19  - 

-      87 

xv.  33  - 

-       95 

xvii.  34,  35      - 

-     182 

xvii.  40  - 

-     183 

xxiv.  3     - 

-     176 

xxv.  3     -         - 

•       92 

2  Samuel. 

vii.  27  - 

-       94 

xx.  9     - 

-    273 

1  Kings. 

xi.  38  - 

-      94 

xix.  5     - 

-     128 

xix.  18  - 

-       52 

xix.  19  - 

-     199 

2  Kings. 

iii.  11  - 

-     127 

iv.  10  - 

-       61 

v.  19  - 

-    269 

viii.  15  - 

-     139 

2  Chronicles. 

xxii.  9     - 

-      92 


iv.  3 




20  - 



18  - 



4     - 



26,  27 



27  - 







CHAP.     VfR. 


i.  4 



-     209 

xxiii.  2 



-    173 

1.  21 



-       13 

cxxviii.  3 



-     227 

cxxxiii.  3 



-     241 



xxvii.  25 


-     203 

xxviii.  3 



-    197 



ii.  4 



•     117 


i.  7 



-     173 

iv.  16 



-     233 

v.  4 



-       68 


xvii.  18 



-     209 

xxii.  13 



-       70 

xxvii.  12 



-     231 

xxxiii.  12 



-     244 

xxxviii.  12 



-     176 

xli.  15 



-     210 

xli.  25 



-     252 

xlix.  10 



-     230 

li.  1 



-     247 


xii.  10, 



-    179 

xviii.  3 



-     252 

xxiv.  2 



-     239 

xxxii.  43, 



-     163 

xli.  17 



-     277 



ii.  6 


12     - 


10     - 


29     - 


.  10  - 


.  11  - 


.3     - 


.  15  - 


.  5     - 




CHAP.        VER. 

iv.  5,  6 
iv.  8     - 


ix.  9 






vii.  14  - 


X.    1        - 

St.  Matthew. 
x.  9     - 
x.  27  - 
xvii.  24-27 
xxi.  17-19       - 
xxi.  33  - 
xxiv.  17  - 
xxiv.  18  - 
xxiv.  41  - 
xxv.  1-13 
xxvi.  48,  49     - 
xxvii.  7     - 

St.  Mark. 
vi.  39  - 
xi.  13  - 

St.  Luke. 

ii.  7  - 

ii.  8  - 

iii.  22,  23      - 

v.  19  - 

vi.  38  - 

xi.  44  - 

xii.  18  - 

xiii.  6  - 

xiv.  19  - 

xxii.  31  - 

St.  John. 
vi.  9     - 
x.  3     - 
x.  4,  5 


iii.  6     -         - 
xviii.  1-3 


viii.  19     - 

1  Corinthians. 

ix.  7     - 

ix.  9     -         -         - 
xviii.  22  - 



-  174 
1<)7,  194 

18,  140 

-  7<> 

-  20 

-  124 

-  234 

-  71 

-  201 

-  119 

-  Ill 

-  272 

-  158 

-  220 

-  239 

-  89 

-  177 

-  38 

-  71 

-  212 

-  158 

-  137 

-  238 

-  195 

127,  253 

-  165 
104,  166 

-  20 

-  259 

-  287 

-  181 

-  211 




'Afir,  195 
Agriculture,  188 
'Alim,  16 
'Aliyeh,  61 
Armenian  Church,  37 

time    of    celebration    of 
Christmas,  38 


Baptism  in  Greek  Church,  42 

Baraghafeh,  78 

Barter,  76 

Baskets,  254 

Bedding,  139 

Beggars,  287 

Bethlehem,  177 

Betrothal,  109 

Blacksmiths,  87 

Blindness,  150 

Blue  eyes,  supposed  power  of,  49 

Booths,  218 

Borrowing,  288 

Breadmaking,  119 

Buffaloes,  184 

Building-stone,  varieties  of,  62 

Burghal,  125 

Burial,  157 

Butter,  132 


Camels,  184 

vindictiveness  of,  185 
Carpenters,  244 
Catholic     brandies     of     Eastern 

Churches,  38 
Cattle,  183 

-stealers,  285 

-markets,  77 
Charcoal,  248 
Charms,  50 

Cheese,  132 

Cholera,  151 

Chrism,  the,  42 

Christmas,  date  of  Armenian,  38 

Churclies,  Greek,  43 

consecration  of,  43 
Cisterns,  72 
Climate,  192 
Coffee,  279 
Conscription,  83 
Contrast   between    old    and    new 

order  of  things,  8 
Convent  of  the  Cross,  44 
Cooking,  125 
Corn-bins,  136 
Corn,  cleaning,  122 
measuring,  212 
Crops,  213 
Currency,  298 
Customs,  funeral,  156 
Cutting  down  fruit-trees,  28(5 


Dances,  113 
Days,  '  borrowed,'  195 
Dervishes,  16 
Dew,  241 
Dialects,  5,  85 
Dibs,  236 
Diseases,  147 
Divorce,  105 
Dogs,  180 
Domed  roofs,  63 
Dowry,  109 
Dress,  139 

of  Greek  priests,  41 

of  women,  143 
Druzes,  32 

belief,  34 

initiated  and  unitiated,  33 
Duffur,  239 





Easter,  45 

eggs,  46 
Education,  99 
Eggs,  coloured,  at  Moslem  feast, 

Evil  eye,  the,  48 

charms  against,  49 


'  Far  be  it  from  you,'  104 
Fasts,  Greek,  47 
Fate,  29 
Fellahin,  188 

low  idea  of  God,  13 

meaning  of  name,  188 

origin,  3 

religious,  12 

reticence  about  customs,  7 
Fields,  163 

Fig-trees  of  the  road,  239 
Figs,  238 

dried,  240 
Firewood,  bringing,  128 
Fish,  dried,  253 
Fishing,  252 
Floods,  196 
Forests,  222 
Fox,  cunning  of,  257 
Funeral  customs,  156 


Gambling,  98 

Games,  97 

Gardens,  watered,  220 

Gleaning,  207 

Goats  and  sheep,  separating,  181 

'  Go  in  peace,'  269 

Grafting,  228 

Greek  Church,  37 

Grinding  corn,  117 

Guest-bouses,  277 

Gunpowder,  247 

Gipsies,  86 


Handmills,  118 
Hand  of  Might,  the,  49 
Harvest,  205 

Head-dress,  women's,  144 
Hellenic  ecclesiastics,  39 
Holy  Fire,  ceremony  of,  45 
Houses,  description  of,  59 

Housetops,  71,  68 
Hunting,  256 


Idiots,  155 

Ikhtiyariyah,  81 

Imam,  Ali,  the  fourth,  13,  note 

Imams,  village,  14 

Improvisors,  88 

Innovations,  8 

Interest,  high  rate  of,  289 

Irrigation,  203 

Islam,  12,  note 

sects  of,  13,  note 


Jars,  137 
Jebel  Ajlun,  164 
el  Kuds,  149 
Jewellery,  130,  253 
Justice,  283 


Kes  and  Yemen,  77 

Khalweh,  Druze  place  of  worship, 

Khans,  277 
Kids  and  lambs,  182 
Kissing,  273 
Koran,  the,  12 
Kusah,  274 


Land,  tenure  of,  189 

Language  spoken  by   our    Lord, 

Lawful  and  unlawful  actions,  54 
Leaven,  119 
Leben,  132 
Leprosy,  152 
Life,  family,  102 
Lime,  burning,  243 
Locks,  wooden,  67 
Locusts,  223 
Looms,  260 


Marketing,  134 

Maronites,  37 

Mares,  partnership  in,  294 

Marriage,  107 

Mar  Saba,  monastery  of,  44 

Mats,  138,  254 

Meals,  124 

evening,  126,  279 



Merit,  doctrine  of,  31,  32 
Met'awali,  13,  note 
Midhat  Pasha,  4 
Milestones,  Roman,  262 
Mills,  231 

water,  249 
'  Minaret/  meaning  of  word,  21, 

'  Modern  Canaanites,'  3 
Monasteries,  Greek,  44 
Money,  various  kinds  of,  208 
Moslem,  meaning  of  the  term,  12 
Moslems,  attitude  towards  Chris- 
tians, 36 

low  idea  of  God,  13 

reverence  for  the  Old  Testa- 
ment, 12 

saints,  12 
Mosques,  21 
Mothers-in-law,  116 
Mukhtars,  82 
Murders,  284 
Musical  instruments,  300 
Muzzling,  211 


Names,  93 

Naming  a  child,  91 

Native  industries  dying  out,  5 

Neby  Miisa,  feast  of,  24 

shrine  of,  29 
Neighbours,  275 
Needlework,  129 
Noah,  tomb  of,  26 


Oil,  olive,  231 
Oil-mills,  231 
Oil-presses,  232 
Olives,  226 
Oranges,  240 
Ovens,  1 20 


Parapets,  71 
Pedlars,  77 
Ploughing,  195,  198 
ox  and  ass,  198 
Ploughs,  201 
Polygamy,  104 
Pottery,  251 
Prayer,  55 

Priests,  village,  40 

dress  of,  41 

long  hair  of,  42 

salaries  of,  40 
Protestants,  39 
Proverbs,  302 


Rainfall,  194 

Rains,  former  and  latter,  193 
Raisins,  236 

Ramadthan,  month  of  fasting,  22 
Ready-money,  scarcity  of,  19 
Reaping,  205 
Religions,  12 

Religiousness  of  Fellahin,  10 
Roads,  262 
Robbers,  169 
Roofs,  65 
flat,  69 


Sahrah,  or  watching,  83 
Sakiveh,  221 
Salutations,  11,  263 
Scrip,  183 
Seals,  299 
Sects,  Moslem,  13 
Seventy,    the,   mission    of,    illus- 
trated, 19 
Shaduf,  221 

Shazeliyeh,  a  Moslem  sect,  13 
Sheep-dogs,  180 
Sheep,  fat-tailed,  133,  175 

feeding  of,  174 

-folds,  176 

resting,  173 

straying,  171 

watering  of,  172 
Sheikh,  80 
Shepherds,  161 

tents,  164 

wages,  180 

weapons,  182 
Sherif,  141 
Shoemakers,  256 
Shoes,  142 
Shops,  73 
Sirocco,  192,  229 
Slings,  98 
Smoking,  127 
Spinning,  257 
Snow, 177 
Spirits,  belief  in,  53 



Spoil,  162 

Sponsors,  93 

Springs,  218 

Staircases,  outside,  71 

Sunnis,  or  orthodox  Moslems,  13 

Superstitions,  47 

Swaddling-clothes,  89 


Tattooing,  115 

Taxation,  6,  290 

Taxes,  farming  of,  293 

Temple  flocks,  176 

Tent-making,  259 

Tents,  shepherds',  164,  258 

Terraces,  199 

Threshing-floors,  207 

Tibn,  209 

Tiling,  72 

Time,  reckoning  of,  296 

Tobacco,  215 

Tombs,  157 

Treasure,  buried,  256 


Uniat  Churches,  38,  note 
Unlucky  events,  51 
Upper  rooms,  61 
Usury,  209 


Vaccination,  14!) 
Villages,  sights  of,  57 
Vines,  232 
Vineyards,  233 

path  through,  234 

towers  in,  234 


Wages,  shepherds',  180 

Washing,  123 

Water,  drawing  of,  128 

Water-mills,  249 

Watch-towers  in  vineyards,  234 

Weapons,  shepherds',  182 

Weavers,  5 

Weaving,  260 

Wedding  ceremony,  Moslem,  112 
customs,  113 
processions,  111 

Weddings,  110 

superstitions  about,  115 

Wely,  Moslem  saint,  25 
Fellahin  dread  of,  27 
intercession  of,  26,  29 
pillars  in  honour  of,  28 

Winnowing,  209 

Wolves,  166 

Women,  degradation  of,  103 



14  DAY  USE 



This  book  is  due  on  the  last  date  stamped  below,  or 

on  the  date  to  which  renewed. 

Renewed  books  are  subject  to  immediate  recall. 


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6  72  -5  PM  7 







JAN  25  J999 

LD  21A-50m-3,'62 

General  Library 

University  of  California 


LD  21-l00w-7,'33 


YD  09637